Question 6 bond referendum includes $2.5M Trinity Rep theater renovation

A RENDERING of a proposed renovation and expansion of Trinity Repertory Company's Lederer Theater Center. / COURTESY TRINITY REPERTORY COMPANY
A RENDERING of a proposed renovation and expansion of Trinity Repertory Company's Lederer Theater Center. / COURTESY TRINITY REPERTORY COMPANY

PROVIDENCE – Among the bond questions to be included in the March 2 special election is Question 6, which pertains to the authorization of $7 million state issued bonds to support art facilities and historic preservation efforts in Rhode Island.

Uses for that bond money include a $2.5 million renovation of Trinity Repertory Company’s Lederer Theater Center on Washington Street in downtown Providence.

The renovation, which has been planned since 2017, would give the theater organization flexibility to host more diverse programs, classes and events, Trinity Rep said. The improvements would provide enhanced artistic capabilities, physical accessibility, operational efficiencies, new revenue opportunities, lower overhead costs, improved health and safety features in the theater, added community and educational space and audience amenities, the theater group said.

Also included in the bond referendum is $1.5 million for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School for its Carter Center for Music Education and Performance in East Providence; $2 million for the R.I. State Council on the Arts for 1:1 matching grants to be allocated to nonprofit cultural organizations, and for RISCA expenses administering the grant program; and $1 million for the State Preservation Grants Program to provide funding to cities, towns and nonprofits to preserve, renovate and improve public nonprofit historic sites, museums and cultural arts centers in historical structures.

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On Thursday, the Rhode Island Coalition for Arts & Preservation, a group of arts and historical preservation organizations, launched a campaign to encourage voters to approve the Question 6 bond referendum.

“From Woonsocket to Westerly, Rhode Island’s arts and preservation community is a proven economic engine that creates good jobs, bolsters our state’s tourism efforts and improves the quality of life for all Rhode Islanders,” Tom Parrish, executive director of Trinity Repertory Company, said in a statement. “Approving Question 6 on the upcoming special election ballot will incentivize much-needed investments in these vibrant industries, and help Rhode Island build on its leadership position in New England’s growing arts economy.”

The group cited a similar $35 million bond approved by voters in 2014 as having resulted in 70 construction and renovation projects, creating 1,500 jobs and approximately $17 million in wages.

“The far-reaching, undeniable success of the 2014 bond measure is proof that every Rhode Islander – not just those who enjoy the arts – benefits when we make sound investments in our state’s creative economy,” said Randall Rosenbaum, RISCA director. “If the voters support a continuation of this investment, we can help arts organizations throughout our state increase their capacity for programming and educational outreach, which in turn results in a significant benefit to our local and state economies and to the education of all Rhode Islanders.”

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