Monday, October 25, 2010

Arena Comes Home

On Saturday, thousands of people helped Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater celebrate its return to Southwest after a two-plus year renovation and expansion of its campus. The celebration lasted all day from 11:30am to 6pm and a block of 6th Street was closed for the event. Below are some picures taken of the festivities throughout the day.

Long lines formed before 10am, when Arena offered a limited amount of tickets to some of the indoor performances.

Ward 6 DC Council member Tommy Wells, DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, and former Ward 6 Council member Sharon Ambrose chat before the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Mayor Fenty arrives at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells and Jaylee Mead, whose husband made a $35 million gift to Arena Stage.

Artistic Director Molly Smith makes some remarks while the crowd listens, including the chair of Arena's board of directors, Mayor Fenty, and Ward 2 Council member Jack Evans.
Managing Director Edgar Dobie assists Jaylee Mead as she officially cut the ribbon at Arena Stage.
Mayor Fenty stands with architect Bing Thom.

Crowds pour into Arena Stage once the ribbon-cutting ceremony ended.
Blue Sky Puppet Theater kept children busy on the terrace.

There was a steady line at the cafe, called Next Stage with Jose Andres.
One of the entrees on the current menu - wild turkey meatballs with Oklahoma succotash, cornbread and whipped pototoes.
Costumes used in other performances were on display.
A large cake in the shape of the Arena Stage building was on display - made by Charm City Cakes.

An outdoor stage was set up for more performances, most of which was used by high school choirs.

Town Center West Park was spruced up for the large crowds expected at Arena Stage.

The celebration ended around 6pm, just in time to catch the sunset over the Southwest Waterfront.

Did any of you make it to Arena Stage's Homecoming festivities? What did you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm happy that southwest has finally welcomed the Arena Stage back, and as someone who lived less than 20 feet from the construction, I never thought it would come fast enough. But now all I want is to return to before. Before there were never employees in the 20 feet between my place and the building talking for hours on end, before there were not trucks left idling on the street beeping in reverse for 30 minutes, then switched into park for another hour, before there weren't people yelling as they exited the gala at midnight or individuals throwing around metal piping to build tents at 5 am on a saturday and no bright purple lights bursting into my apartment for an entire weekend.
I want to love Arena Stage, it's a fabulous piece of heritage and helping make SW the respected quadrant it should be. But I'm concerned it's not as good of a neighbor as it could be, and the residential peacefulness within the city I sought in SW is being chipped away at.