The Wallis Performing Arts Center Opens
Posted by Amanda Macke on Oct 21, 2013 - 7:50:38 PM
BEVERLY HILLS—After a dedication and series of celebrity-studded Galas, the
Center for the Performing Arts officially opened to the public on Thursday, October 17, and will begin programming November 8.
The new $70 million venue, nicknamed the Wallis, is located on
9390 N. Santa Monica Blvd. and comprises of the historic 1933 Beverly Hills Post Office landmark and the state-of-the-art 500-seat Goldsmith Theater. Elegant landscaping, a sunken sculpture garden and a promenade event terrace encompass the buildings.
An artistic rendering of the Wallis.
According to their website, the Wallis is the first performing arts center to be built in
Beverly Hills and will be a haven for artists worldwide to showcase their art to audiences of every age. The retired post office building has been remodeled into a 150-seat Lovelace Studio Theater, café, gift shop and a youth theater school that will open to students in 2014.
The Wallis will produce and present outstanding theater, dance, opera and classical music concerts, including programs designed for family and children audiences. The center will also offer theater enthusiasts opportunities to attend special exhibitions that will reveal another layer of meaning to a show or presentation.
The Martha Graham Dance Company will perform a special inaugural contemporary dance presentation in the Goldsmith Theater on September 8, 2014, and on September 9, 2014.
Philanthropist Wallis Annenberg, whom the performing arts center is named after, envisions the venue as “a place where
L.A.’s future embraces
L.A.’s past.” The CEO and President of the Annenberg Charity Foundation donated $25 million to help transform the historic post office into the cultural center it is today.
Photo of the postal office in 1934.
The Beverly Hills Postal Office was created in 1933, after the Honorary Beverly Hills Mayor Will Rogers sent a humorous letter to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury insisting that the federal government owed the booming city the funds. The New Deal agency, the Work Projects Administration (WPA), allocated $300,000 to commission esteemed architect Ralph C. Flewelling to construct the postal office and artist Charles Kassler to paint eight lunette murals on the building’s walls. Today, the postal office contains one of the only two remaining WPA frescoes in the entire California Federal building system.
“Over the decades, the Beverly Hills Post Office took on great significance as the cornerstone of the city, and an architectural landmark,” states the Wallis website, continuing that, “Architect Ralph C. Flewelling and artist Charles Kassler would be honored that the building they so lovingly constructed long ago is being fittingly preserved and modernized as a cultural destination for audiences of all ages.”
In the pursuit of preserving the treasured architectural landmark, the Wallis is still campaigning for capital support from the community. The center is offering donors the opportunity to leave a civic legacy for themselves or their families by naming a seat in the Bram Goldsmith Theater. Those interested in the seat naming program or becoming a Capital Campaign donor are encouraged to call the Development Office at 310-246-3800.
For more tickets and information about the Wallis Annenberg Center for Performing Arts, go to: http://www.thewallis.org.