nexStage, a non-profit community theatre, was a thriving local arts group with a downtown Ketchum, Idaho, location that served the organization well for more than two decades. But their small and dated venue had become limiting in terms growth toward more extensive programming. The Sun Valley/Ketchum community saved their site from development in 2001 and at that time formed Sun Valley Performing Arts to take ownership of the property and operate the theatre. Recognizing the potential for growth and expansion on their current site, Sun Valley Performing Arts embarked on a Concept Design study in 2016 with Auerbach Pollock Friedlander and local architect Michael Doty Associates. The Concept Design study and earlier needs assessments affirmed what local leaders had hoped-- the Ketchum community fully supported the growth of their organization and welcomed the possibility of expansion of the arts in the region. The design team continued their work for the development of a new building on the nexStage property and the groundbreaking for The Argyros Performing Arts Center took place in July of 2017.
The site itself presented the first challenge. Once a Jeep dealership and then a garage, the location was narrow at only 50 feet wide. With a hotel up to the property line on one side and 1st Street on the other, there was no room to expand so the plan had to make the most of every inch.
Despite the site limitations, the state-of-the-art building includes the Elizabeth and Thomas Tierney Theatre, a flexible theatre with seating for up to 380 patrons; and the Bailey Family Studio, a smaller venue seating 50, the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Café and a large outdoor plaza. Auerbach Pollock Friedlander provided theatre and audio-video consulting for the planning and design of the facility as well as theatrical systems design services for the performance spaces. The building’s architecture highlights the natural beauty of Ketchum with numerous large windows that maximize mountain views.
The Argyros Performing Arts Center presents “local, national and international artists, ensembles and events, and features a wide variety of programs for everyone including music of all kinds, theater, comedy, dance, speakers, films and educational workshops.” Intended as a true community gathering place, the venues are also available as rental spaces.