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Cary's new arts center to offer more for kids, families

The Cary Arts Center will celebrate its opening with a dedication this weekend. The new space allows the town to expands its programs, including many for kids and families.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
The new Cary Arts Center will celebrate its opening with a dedication this weekend that will feature lots of family-friendly activities.

The building, which opened for business in July, has allowed the town to expands its programs, including many for kids and families. You'll find classes and programs for kids as young as 18 months, preschoolers, grade schoolers, teens and adults.

"Everything is more," Lyman Collins, Cary's cultural arts manager, tells me. "More, more, more because we have more space, more time and we’ll have more instructors.

The Cary Arts Center is a 48,000-square-foot, three-story building with 16 visual and performing arts classroom spaces as well as a fully functioning theatre complete with a stage, fly loft and about 390 seats. There also is an indoor and outdoor kiln; dressing and green rooms; storage space for local cultural groups; a dedicated art gallery; concession area; and library space.

Many of the programs that are being offered at the Cary Arts Center had been held at the Jordan Hall Arts Center, which closed when the new building opened this summer. The Cary Arts Center site has served as home to a number of Cary elementary and secondary schools, including North Carolina’s first public high school.

In addition to offering more arts and performing arts classes for kids, there also will be more performances geared to families.

Cary has expanded its long-running Marvelous Music series to include special family performances. The three-part series will feature the Grey Seal Puppets on Nov. 13; storyteller Donna Washington on Feb. 19; and the Tarradiddle Players on March 25. Tickets are $5 per person, regardless of age, and go on sale on Sept. 28. Click here for more details on the performances and programs.
The center also will be the home of the popular Applause! Cary Youth Theatre, which offers theater classes, camps and workshops for kids. The new space will allow the program to stage three productions a year instead of two, Collins tells me. The performances will start with "Schoolhouse Rock" in October. Auditions for kids ages 8 to 18 are Aug. 29 and Aug. 30. Click here for details on the auditions and the program.
And as I reported earlier this week, registration for Cary's parks programs this fall, including those at the Cary Arts Center, has started for Cary residents. Click here for details.

This Saturday, the town will celebrate and dedicate the new building at 101 Dry Ave. From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.Saturday, there will be art exhibits; dance, theater and musical performances; open rehearsals and interactive cultural experiences; kid-friendly craft projects; and more. The activities will stop for about an hour at 2 p.m. for an official dedication and cornerstone ceremony.

At 5:30 p.m., the Cary Youth Video Project will debut four documentaries. And at 7:30 p.m., there's a free concert by Larkin Poe, a sister duo performing original folk, Americana, country and pop music.

There are more events on Sunday, though it's not as kid-friendly. It includes a 3 p.m. round table discussion with artists involved in the design and renovation of the building. For more details on this weekend's activities, click here.

It's all free.

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