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Carmel performing arts center raises curtain on new name

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Carmel's new 1,600-seat concert hall will be called “The Palladium.” The naming, announced Thursday morning, is part of a marketing effort designed to generate more financial support and press for the city's performing arts center, a $150 million project.

“Hopefully it'll create some positive buzz,” said Frank Basile, a member of the board of directors for the foundation that oversees arts center operations. “Hopefully that will pave the way for going out and raising money.”

The multivenue center is being built and financed through bond issues by the Carmel Redevelopment Commission. The foundation is charged with raising private donations. Basile and his wife, Katrina, recently kicked off that effort with a $500,000 pledge.

Public relations manager John Hughey said Thursday’s announcement doesn't preclude a major donor from adding his or her name to the $80 million concert hall. The venue is still under construction. A grand opening is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2011.

The Palladium will share its name with venues in Hollywood, Dallas and St. Petersburg, Fla., although Hughey noted that not all of those facilities meet the technical definition of a concert hall.

The whole complex will be called “The Center for the Performing Arts.” That means the foundation is dropping the placeholder name, “Regional Performing Arts Center,” which has been in use for the past several months.

The other venues, which are not yet built, will be a 500-seat proscenium theater, a 200-seat studio theater and an outdoor amphiteather. New names for those parts of the complex are in the works, Hughey said.

Indianapolis Civic Theatre, which recently signed a deal to become the resident company for the 500-seat theater, is working on potential names for the venue, Hughey said. The semi-professional group is currently based at Marian University.

The announcement Thursday mentioned a few more arts groups that solidfiied plans to perform at the new complex. Those are Actor's Theatre of Indiana, Carmel Repertory Theatre, Central Indiana Dance Ensemble and Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre.

The Palladium's main resident will be the semi-professional Carmel Symphony Orchestra. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has also committed to six to eight performances there.

In a prepared statement, Executive Director Steven Libman said the performing arts center will fill a void in the region as a “one-stop shop for cultural entertainment.”

“The Center will help the City of Indianapolis join the ranks of other similar-sized metropolitan areas that have had such facilities for years, like the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia,” Libman said. “Additionally, the Center will address currently unmet space needs in the area for existing arts organizations, supplementing their efforts to cultivate the arts in Central Indiana.”

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