BTAC exists to provide high quality performing arts, visual arts, and arts education programs, and to welcome and nurture talent.
Performing Arts: BTAC produces eight shows per season under the Bloomington Civic Theatre name. We’re best known for large musicals that range from classic Broadway dance shows like 42nd Street to concept pieces like Sunday in the Park with George. Dramas and comedies in an intimate Black Box Theater round out each season, delighting audiences of 33,000+. BTAC plays a key role in the Twin Cities’ arts ecosystem by making exceptional productions accessible to many and giving emerging actors opportunities to learn from the most respected directors and choreographers in our region.
Visual Arts: BTAC showcases the work of emerging and established artists from Minnesota and surrounding states, as well as national artists featured in shows such as the National Watercolor Society Traveling Exhibition in summer 2012. From painting and drawing to fiber and ceramics, the work we exhibit is always thoughtfully chosen and installed. BTAC produces 14-16 exhibits per year in two galleries, attracting more than 66,000 visits.
Arts Education: BTAC connects students of all ages with practicing artists who have expertise in their artistic disciplines and an enthusiasm for teaching. Drawing, painting, ceramics, and glass comprise the core curriculum, supplemented by offerings in jewelry-making, fiber, photography, and creative writing. We also provide professional development workshops for artists, a growing children’s theater education program, and outreach initiatives to ensure access to arts activities for underserved children and adults.
To provide our audiences with extraordinary arts experiences that entertain, educate, and inspire, we increased our investments in Black Box Theater productions to reach a level of excellence commensurate with our Schneider Theater musicals. Audiences responded to the high quality of Brighton Beach Memoirs, Inspecting Carol, The 39 Steps, and Crimes of the Heart, and Black Box ticket sales grew 61 percent over last season. Audiences were similarly wowed by the memorable exhibit The Atelier: On the Training of Painters. Presented with The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art, this show featured more than 100 works and extensive signage to demonstrate the evolution of Classical Realism from 18th century French painters to local artists working today.
To reach larger and more diverse audiences, we developed several partnerships aimed at serving more youth and families. With NEA support, we began offering free, artist-led afterschool workshops for students at Bloomington’s public middle schools. We also became one of Project Success’s professional theater partners. Through Project Success, we offered hundreds of free theater tickets so Minneapolis school children and their families could access high quality performances that might otherwise be out of reach. In summer 2012, we took a significant step toward rebuilding a children’s theater program with the first-ever Camp Shakespeare. In this two-week day camp, 27 students in grades 2-12 explored the archetypes present in A Midsummer Night’s Dream through theater games, rehearsals, and two free outdoor public performances of scenes from this beloved comedy.
To develop talented artists through distinctive experiences that stimulate artistic and professional growth, we offered a series of well attended “business of art” workshops, a workshop on the Margolis Method with New York-based actor and teacher Kari Margolis, and a presentation on the intricacies of stage management by Rachel McCutchen, stage manager for Broadway’s The Book of Mormon. Artist development also happened organically in every area of our programming. For example, we provided opportunities for actors to work with Gary Gisselman, Wendy Lehr, Joe Chvala, and numerous other well respected directors and choreographers. Further, in a testament to the unique role BTAC plays in our regional arts scene, we gave artist John Schuerman a chance to bring his intriguing concept for a “male/female” exhibit to fruition in the guest-curated Lace and Gunpowder.
Your Support is Critical
BTAC is committed to reaching larger and more diverse audiences, including youth, families, and underserved populations. To do this and deliver our current programming, we need the support of donors like you. Thank you for making a gift to BTAC today!