The former Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center was recently renovated and reopened as the Waldron Arts Center after a decade, according to an Indiana Public Media article.
Chad Rabinovitz, Constellation Stage & Screen artistic director of New Works, who are stewards of the Waldron Arts Center, said the renovators aim to make the center a modern version of art deco and host public shows and events. This includes the show “The Importance of Being Earnest,” which runs until Oct. 30. The center itself is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Ally Powell, principal designer of Third Eye Design, helped design the Waldron Arts Center.
“The period in which the building was designed and built was in the art nouveau and art deco time period, so I wanted to honor the architecture of the building,” Powell said.
The center was approved by Bloomington’s Board of Public Works to undergo construction in July, according to the Indiana Public Media article. For Powell, she said there were many challenges with making the center a centerpiece for Bloomington arts, entertainment and events.
“With it being a historic building, it’s all made out of plaster so that was hard to repair and as a designer, I’m used to working with one or two clients but this time, my demographic was the whole community,” Powell said. “Pleasing an entire community and board of directors was hard on my end.”
The “Great Gatsby”-inspired center welcomes its guests with a red carpet leading upstairs through the hallway, the lobby and the second stairs straight to the theater. Chandeliers are lined throughout.
“The Waldron is going to be brought back to life,” Powell said. “This is coming alive again and I’m really proud of it.”
Rabinovitz said an old classroom from when the center was used for Ivy Tech was revamped into a lounge decorated with couches, chairs, loveseats, a bar and more chandeliers.
“We want them to have a full experience which is more than just the show,” Rabinovitz said. “It’s everything from when you walk in the door to the theatrical experience or you’re experiencing the visual arts or whatever it is that’s in our building. We want people to see it as a place that can be yours.”
The goal was to make the place feel alive and reminiscent of the 1920’s atmosphere, Rabinovitz said.
Constellation partnered with the Bloomington Photography Club to feature a gallery on the main floor. Additional photos are displayed on the downstairs level and in the hallways near the theater.
The gallery includes landscape, portrait, macro, black and white pictures as well as creative works like pictures created from film.
“We make sure that what we present in our gallery represents the different disciplines of the photograph wall,” Raouf Bishay, the Bloomington Photography Club exhibit chairman, said. “We do not want to show just one thing — we want to show all of it.”
The Bloomington Photography Club is planning to feature another exhibit for the center in December. Pictures taken by cell phones will be the theme.