Indiana Arts Center Opening Set

Construction work has advanced enough on Carmel’s $150 million performing arts center that grand opening events are being planned, though they’ll be a few months later than first expected.

Organizers have announced a January 2011 grand opening for the 1,600-seat concert hall that will be the centerpiece of the Regional Performing Arts Center in the northern Indianapolis suburb.

The concert hall had been scheduled for a fall 2010 opening, but much work was halted in June for about two months so that cracked steel in the building’s rotunda could be repaired.

Construction of the concert hall is now expected to be completed in November 2010, followed by small concerts and rehearsals before a week of activities leading up to the Jan. 29, 2011, grand opening, said Steven Libman, the center’s executive director.

“Between then and January, we have to conduct the process of tuning the hall,” Libman said. “We have to make sure the hall is absolutely perfect before we sell tickets and open it for an event.”

Grand opening activities will include a black-tie event, featuring a performance by vocalist and pianist Michael Feinstein, who has signed a contract to become the center’s artistic director. An open house and performances by the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and local and international entertainers are also being planned.

Construction of the concert hall began in December 2007. The center also is to include two performance theaters with 500 and 200 seats.

Work has started on the smaller theater, while city redevelopment director Les Olds said construction on the larger theater was expected to begin in January. Both theaters are expected to open in 2011.