Performing arts center looks for grant, plans fundraising campaign

While the Christian youth group Ground Zero has signed a lease with the city of Myrtle Beach to renovate the former Rivoli Theater, plans continue for a performing arts center addition to the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

In 1999, the city purchased the Rivoli, built in 1958, with the intention of turning it into a performing arts facility. But leaders of the Rivoli Theater Group, the fundraising arm for the facility, determined several years ago that reviving the theater would simply cost too much.

The Myrtle Beach Performing Arts Center board of directors turned its attention in 2008 to building an all-new facility at the convention center.

"We are in business and getting ready to start a huge capital campaign," said board chairperson Rita Siegal Levine.

Levine said the board is waiting for a federal grant that would provide operating capital to run the arts facility. She said the board is planning to make an announcement about the grant and fundraising efforts before the end of June.

The latest plans call for construction of a $10 million performing arts center, to include an 832 seat theater, a smaller black-box theater and a visual arts exhibit space.