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Commentary Detail

Grand Center - Once a Dream, Now a Reality
Commentary by: Nancy Kranzberg
Aired December 03, 2010

A few years ago, I wrote a commentary on Grand Center. Even though the art world was well aware of most of its components such as The Contemporary Art Museum, The Pulitzer, Jazz at the Bistro, The Fox Theatre, The St Louis Symphony Orchestra, The Grandel Theatre and the Sheldon Concert Hall, the average St Louisan really didn't know exactly what Grand Center was.

Now with the addition of The Kranzberg Arts Center, UMSL soon breaking ground for St. Louis Public Radioís new building, and KDHX soon to debut its Larry J Weir building, all will know that Grand Center is truly St Louis's arts and entertainment district.

The Kranzberg houses four high quality resident theatre groups in its 120 seat state-of-the-art black box theatre, features both local and nationally known singers and musicians in its 80 seat Cabaret theatre, and boasts a satellite of Craft Alliance with art exhibitions and constantly filled classes.

St. Louis Public Radio and KDHX join the already present KETC, the online news center offices of The Beacon, and HEC, the Higher Education Channel. UMSLís building for St. Louis Public Radio will have media classrooms. Grand Center is becoming quite the communications mecca.

Many new restaurants have finally opened, there's plenty of parking, and there are now four public and private schools that are thriving. The Grand Center Arts Academy is the most recent addition to the area.

Grand Center recently showcased over 75 dance troupes in its fourth annual Dancing in the Streets festival and you can catch the annual family oriented First Night New Year's Celebration on New Year's Eve. There are gallery walks on some Friday nights and Cinema St Louis shows movies at the Kranzberg on some Monday nights.

There are over 12,000 theatre seats within the four block Grand Center area and of course the Centene Center for Arts and Education is home to the offices of seventeen arts organizations and has rehearsal space for dance and theatre.

Grand Center was once just somebody's dream. Those somebodies were Leon and Mary Strauss of the Fabulous Fox, Father Reinhardt of St Louis University, Vince Schoemel when he was mayor, and such visionaries as Emily and Joseph Pulitzer, Stanley Goodman of the St Louis Symphony and Richard Gaddes. When Ann Ruwitch was President of Grand Center Inc, she had to try to explain a situation that was becoming, and not yet quite visible. Well folks, Grand Center is now on the map and going strong and growing stronger on a daily basis.

(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Nancy Kranzberg

Nancy Kranzberg

Arts Aficionado Nancy Kranzberg has been involved in the arts community for some thirty years. She serves on numerous arts affiliated boards, including The St. Louis Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park where she is the Co-Chair, The Sheldon Arts Foundation and the Sheldon Art Gallery Board, Jazz at the Bistro, The Missouri Mansion Preservation Inc., The Mid American Arts Alliance, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Nancy was named Women of Achievement and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae Award at Washington University Nancy is a docent at the St. Louis Art Museum and is an honorary docent at Laumeier Sculpture Park. At age 60 she became a Jazz singer. She performs with the Second Half which features Chancellor Tom George on the piano.

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