East Alabama Arts

Arts & Culture
Southside Center for the Arts
1103 Glenn St
Opelika, AL 36801
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Petrina Maher
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A kaleidoscope of national and international performing arts events including major Broadway tours, symphony orchestras, opera companies, entertainers, jazz greats, and more! The Performance Series runs from late fall through spring of each year. Past performances include 42nd Street, The Producers, An Evening with Garrison Keillor, and the world-renowned Vienna Boys Choir. Admission charge.

East Alabama Arts

The mission of The Arts Association of East Alabama is to provide rewarding and exciting experiences for the citizens of this area by developing innovative programming that will stimulate interest in the arts, eagerness to learn through the arts, and broader participation in and support of the arts. Founded in 1965 as the Opelika Arts Association, that amateur painting club has evolved through more than four decades into a fully professional presenting and arts education organization and was renamed The Arts Association of East Alabama in 2007 to reflect its larger service area.

In 1987, a partnership with the Opelika City Board of Education set the stage for the development of the Performance Series to provide programming for the newly built 1200-seat Opelika Center for the Performing Arts. In 1996, another partnership with the school system resulted in joint acceptance into the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program providing professional development opportunities in the arts for area teachers K-12. A third agreement, just completed, with Opelika City Schools in 2001 resulted in an Arts Association commitment to provide $150,000 over 10 years towards the $450,000 technical upgrade of the Performing Arts Center, considerably advancing our program options and quality of performances.

We also have a close working relationship with the City of Opelika that in 1998 resulted in the $480,000 restoration of the Opelika Depot to provide a home for the Arts Association and the Opelika Main Street program. Performance Series events are also key to industrial recruitment efforts by the Opelika Economic Development Authority. We are currently engaged in a major project with Envision Opelika and the Alabama State Council on the Arts in restoring the 1929 Miriam S. Brown School in Southside Opelika into a community cultural center which is providing needed visual arts exhibit space and a 300 seat auditorium. A recent $90,000 grant from ASCA was matched by $270,000 raised locally and the office/conference room/auditorium phase of restoration is complete and in operation. As of January, 2012, the AAEA Civic Chorale is now housed at the cultural center for its weekly rehearsals and annual performances.

THE BOX OFFICE AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES OF THE THE ARTS ASSOCIATION OF EAST ALABAMA ARE LOCATED IN THE SOUTH SIDE CENTER FOR THE ARTS AT 1103 GLENN STREET.

ABOUT THE SOUTHSIDE CENTER FOR THE ARTS

1103 GLENN STREET, OPELIKA, AL 36801

The Southside Center for the Arts is a longtime dream come true in one of Opelika's oldest neighborhoods.  Innovatively designed as a school building by Southern architectural legend Frank Lockwood, Southside Elementary opened in 1929, and for the next 70 years welcomed thousands of children into its classrooms.  

Now this historic structure is alive with the sights and sounds of performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, lectures, arts education activities, and community engagement events.  Its central space features administrative offices and a gem of a 300-seat auditorium with lively natural acoustics.  The building's two wings house meeting/conference spaces and galleries for student and professional art.  Restoration efforts have been true to the building's historic character with functional upgrades for contemporary use.  

As a cooperative venture between  The Arts Association of East Alabama, Envision Opelika, and the City of Opelika, Southside Center for the Arts will host many exciting and memorable events in the years to come, and continue to grow as an important cultural asset to our community.