The Bexar County Performing Arts Center Foundation is seeking to raise $54 million in private funding to help transform Municipal Auditorium into the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.
The nonprofit organization, which will own and operate the Tobin Center once construction is completed, has already raised more than $43 million and expects to hit secure the balance by the time the building opens in mid-September.
The new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts is scheduled to open in September and will be the new home venue for the San Antonio Symphony, Ballet San Antonio and other arts companies. The high-tech performance venue is said to be one of the must-have parts of making the city world class in the arts. As Tobin Foundation Chair Bruce Bugg notes, the Tobin started with the voters.
The Mays Family Foundation is donating $1.25 million toward the ongoing construction of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Tobin Center executives announced during a ceremony Wednesday.
The Tobin Center was born from the idea that San Antonio needed a world-class performing arts facility. Despite the existence of the Majestic Theater and the now recently renovated Lila Cockrell Theater, a new state-of-the-art center was desired. And so in 2008 the question was put to the voters of Bexar County who approved a $100 million bond to fund construction of the facility.
Behind a chain-link fence that surrounds the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, hammering, grinding and drilling echo throughout. Cranes move tons of steel used to reinforce the auditorium and the 120-foot-tall metal veil that will be placed atop the building's historic façade. Workers balance on steel beams high above the ground, laboring to assemble the auditorium's shell, which should be complete by May.
Decked out in hard hats, reflective vests, and goggles, the two of us looked like poster kids for OSHA as we entered the building. Peering out into the immense empty space, Bugg recalled a comment that captures the experience of being in the hole. “When I brought Tommy Lee Jones here the first time, he asked me, ‘Bruce, what are you going to do with this airplane hanger?’”