As a Juneau musician for 40 years, I have personal experience with the shortcomings of our concert venues and the need for a modern performing arts facility.
I have performed in venues where the audience had to keep their coats on because the heating system didn’t work. I recall an opera performance where a leaky roof set off the fire alarm and the entire audience and cast had to evacuate the building.
I’ve suffered awkward moments when staff accidentally doubled-booked the facility. Countless times the Juneau Symphony had to compete with high school dances, basketball pep bands, with every parking space taken up.
Other venues can’t afford to replace lights, fix the water fountain, or keep the restrooms clean.
Then there’s the JACC. The “Juneau Arts and Culture Center,” the old National Guard Armory, is a box with bad acoustics, inadequate restrooms, no kitchen, no dressing rooms and a mold problem. It’s not a concert hall.
Juneau is Alaska’s capital city. It’s time we had a performing arts facility we can be proud of.
Some say we can’t afford it, don’t need it, and it won’t be used. Many said the same about the Thunder Mountain High School, Treadwell Ice Arena, Dimond Park Aquatic Center and the Mendenhall Valley Library. Yet all these facilities are well used and loved by many, including the naysayers.
The new JACC will be too. Let’s come together to support this facility and the economic benefit it will bring to our capital city.
Artistic director of the Con Brio Chamber Series