City seeking operators for Leimert Park Vision Theatre

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LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas has announced that the city is seeking applications from performance arts groups and venue operators to manage, operate and program the Vision Theatre and the Manchester Junior Arts Center in Leimert Park, which officials hope will become the premiere arts venue in South Los Angeles.

The Vision Theatre was built as a movie palace in 1931, and the city took control of the property in 1997 to turn it into a performance and junior arts center. The Spanish-style Art Deco building was renovated, with the front portico, lobbies, upstairs offices and event spaces restored to become the Manchester Junior Arts Center.

The Vision Theatre sits as the crown jewel of performance and artistic expression in Leimert Park,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Its rebirth represents a grand opportunity to honor a long and storied cultural legacy as well as write a new chapter.

“While there are still many stops ahead, this solicitation for an operator with the skill and capacity to program to the caliber that the community deserves and expects, gets us even closer to a long-awaited opening night.”

The next phases of renovations are currently underway, which include restoration of the historic ceiling mural, a complete renovation of the 750-seat audience chamber, the construction of a new stage and fly loft with state-of-the-art production and audio/visual equipment, the creation of a new lounge/event space, and new offices and storage, backstage dressing rooms, orchestra pit, artist amenities and green room, stage door/loading dock and other production enhancements.

The city has invested more than $36 million in infrastructure upgrades, preservation and interior improvements.

The department’s goal is to reopen the Vision Theatre as the premiere venue in South Los Angeles serving the community,” said Danielle Brazell, general manager of the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs. “We will accomplish this goal by completing a $40 million adaptive reuse and modernization project and by identifying the most experienced and qualified partner to successfully program, operate, manage and maintain the Vision MJAC.

Partners with a proven track record of administering a year-round, multidisciplinary performing arts center/theater with a training program focused on the creative development of young people in the performing arts, technical production, and leadership will be considered through this process,” she added.

Venue operators and performance arts groups seeking to submit a proposal can ask questions about the process by emailing dca.contractsunit@lacity.org by Dec. 10. The submitted questions and the answers will be made available to all on https://labavin.org.

The Department of Cultural Affairs will provide two in-person, mandatory pre-proposal conferences and site walks for applicants at noon on Oct. 5 and Nov. 3. Applicants must RSVP by Oct. 1 and Oct. 29, respectively, to yvonne.farrow@lacity.org.

The request for proposals is available at culturela.org.

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