The Coppell Arts Center opened in time to stage this year’s most highly-anticipated political drama in America: the 2020 election. On Oct. 13, its first day to open its doors to the public, the Coppell Arts Center greeted North Texans for early voting as well as its fall programming.
The arts center is one of two early voting sites in Coppell. “Between its location in Old Town Coppell, the architectural design, and the art displayed in the Mr. Cooper Group Lobby Gallery, the Arts Center creates a beautiful and calming setting to vote in. The facility also provides a safe indoor experience thanks to our COVID-prevention measures like staffing wearing PPE, thermal scanners, and new ionized HVAC system,” Alex Hargis, Coppell Arts Center managing director, said.
Voting takes place in the Reception Hall, with voters entering the west side of building towards Hammond Street. Masks are encouraged while voters stand in line outside 6 feet apart and vote inside the arts center.
“By opening up the Center for early voting, we want to underscore our mission to be a good host that brings people together for great causes from inspiring artistic experiences to community-driven initiatives like voting,” Hargis said.
The facility was scheduled to open in mid-May, but the coronavirus pandemic caused construction delays, the cancellation of planned programming, and the loss of six months of revenue while incurring construction and operating costs.
The 30,000 square-foot center boasts six versatile spaces. A 440-seat main hall will host concerts, touring productions, orchestral music, and corporate events. The Wheelice Wilson, Jr. Theater is a 196-seat black box theater designed for smaller theatrical productions, art exhibitions, and special events. A 2,000-square foot multi-purpose reception hall will host art exhibits, events, meetings, and nightlife. The Grove Performance Plaza serves as an outdoor community spaces for special events and performances with views of Old Town Coppell.
While construction on the facility’s interior continued through the summer, the arts center welcomed visitors to its parking lot. “When COVID caused construction to slow this summer, we used the finished space we had – our parking lot – to produce a Saturday night summer drive-in movie series. Every show sold out, and drew people from Coppell, Las Colinas, Dallas, and McKinney,” Hargis said. “We also piloted three weeks of Yoga and Bollywood classes in the Center’s outdoor Grove area this month. There are still a few tickets available to purchase for these classes. We know people are hungry for social, yet safe creative outlets. We are here to do that and do it safely.”
The Coppell Arts Center is now open for free guided building tours and gallery viewings of "Locally Sourced," a juried art exhibition in The Mr. Copper Group Lobby Gallery featuring 45 works by 24 Coppell artists across a range of media, from painting and photography to sketching, textiles, and sculpture. The 45 works were selected by local arts advocacy group, Coppell Creatives, out of 75 total entries. A maximum of six people allowed per hour.
“Digi Land,” a touch-free interactive exhibition created with gesture-tracking technology, features interactive surface games, a kinetic energy art wall called Quantum Space, and a selfie station, which combine to provide a fun, safe creative escape in the Wheelice Wilson, Jr. Theater. A maximum of 10 people allowed per hour. Tickets are on sale for $16 per person. Exhibition tours begin November 4.
“Try Something New” classes throughout the fall feature Yoga, Bollywood dancing, and the addition of art workshops starting in October are held outside on the Grove. Studio Art House founder Anita Robbins will teach beginner-level workshops in watercolor and charcoal and an intermediate-level class in acrylic painting. A maximum of 15 allowed per class. Tickets are $10 - $25.
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The Coppell Arts Center will announce livestreamed concerts and artisan workshops soon. Hours for "Locally Sourced," building tours, and "Digi Land" are Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the last reservation being at 6 p.m. Drive-in movies and "Try Something New" class dates, times, and ticketing vary and are listed on the website.
Reservations must be made and tickets purchased online and in advance at https://www.coppellartscenter.org/events.