Venice Gondolier-Sun STAFF REPORT

VENICE — Venice Theatre officials signed papers Friday closing their deal on the purchase of the Arts Education Building — formerly known as the Hamilton Building.

The $1.06 million deal sale from the city of Venice will lead to a renovation to the 9,518-square foot building, according to Venice Theatre officials.

That will ultimately lead to it becoming the theater’s “new home for its growing Education & Outreach Department,” according to a news release from the theater.

The idea sprung through the work of Venice Theatre Producing Executive Director Murray Chase who saw his hope of expanding the theater’s campus “could become a reality.”

“We’re ready for, and we need, the VT campus,” Chase said in a news release. “It’s a campus where volunteers and artists rehearse and perform in one building, we build the productions in another building, and we teach theater and life skills in yet a third building, one designed for education.”

According to the news release, the theater plans on launching a “community appeal” that they are calling “The Next Act.”

The Next Act will work toward bringing in funds “to improve and enhance the campus, which now includes the Main Building, The Theatre Crafts Building where scenery and props are built and stored, and the Arts Education Building.”

There are naming opportunities available for all three buildings, the theater stated, although some spaces have already been reserved.

Venice Theatre Director of Education Sandy Davisson said The Next Act project will be a “bridge” for more learning environments and instruction that will be specialized for individual students, the news release states.

“More space allows us to broaden and diversify our arts curriculum, offer more convenient times for classes, and collaborate with a greater number of organizations,” she said.

The news release states the theater is stepping toward what needs to happen for the renovation of the Arts Education Building “to the needs and specifications of its Education & Outreach Department, which offers classes, camps, and workshops for kindergartners through adults as well as a variety of community outreach programs.”

Venice Theater officials said the purchase will help staff and volunteers continue to “develop a world-class campus for future generations to enjoy.”

Previously, the building temporarily housed the Venice Library while the new facility was under construction.

Those taking part in the closing at The Boone Law Firm were Venice’s Realtor, Linda Emery of Ian Black Real Estate; Realtor and Venice Theatre President Laura B. Kopple; Venice Theatre Treasurer Lynn Crandall; Sabal Palm Bank’s Jack Pilkington and Tish Murphy along with Venice Theatre’s legal team of Annette Boone, Steve Boone and Stuart Boone.