Three years after founding Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts in 1997, Louise Hopkins Underwood’s operation finally found a permanent home in the city's vacated Fire Department Administration Building. These days, her vision for a thriving contemporary-arts community has grown into a four-block campus with nine buildings spread across 64,000 square feet. The LHUCA team repurposed those structures—warehouses and former municipal buildings among them—into arts spaces that include an exhibition hall and four galleries whose nearly 5,000 square feet display local, national, and international artists. The renovated Icehouse accommodates rehearsals and performances of dance, music, and performance art, and the 159-seat Firehouse Theatre's 5.1-surround-sound mix brings films to life more effectively than hiring Dr. Frankenstein as a projectionist. Along with showcasing the work of prominent figures, the center's teachers nurture up-and-coming artists with classes in disciplines such as oil painting, bagpiping, and creative writing.
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