Are you ready to tango? On Thursday, July 14 at noon — at Luther Burbank Park — the Mercer Island Center for Arts (MICA) has made possible a noon concert by pianists Connie Wible and Suzanne Zahniser.
Suzanne and Connie will play these four pieces by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla: Fuga Y Misterio; Milonga del Angel; Libertango (possibly his most famous) and Tangata.
Piazzolla actually played the bandoneon, a type of accordion. The two-piano (four-hands) arrangement was written by Pablo Ziegler, a pianist who played with Piazzolla himself in one of his quintets.
“We love this music because it is so passionate and thrilling!” says Suzanne. Both she and Connie are Mercer Island residents, musicians and heavily involved in the Mercer Island arts community.
They will be playing on piano entitled “Crossings” by artist, Cynthia Wessling.
Any time on July 14, visit the MICA info booth near the piano and learn what MICA is up to. It’s a lot. To give you the scoop on that, we talked with Sharon Perez, who is heading the fundraising effort that should allow MICA to open its doors in 2019.
Sharon, how would you describe MICA?
Sharon: MICA is a consolidator of the arts on Mercer Island. We see ourselves as the Chamber of Commerce for the Arts on Mercer Island.
What’s your mission?
Sharon: Our immediate mission is to fundraise and build the Mercer Island Center for the Arts at Mercerdale Park, with ground breaking slated for 2018 and the opening in 2019. The project, expected to cost $25 million, includes the Arts Center building that would be about 25,000 square feet at the edge of the park, replacing the old recycling center. It would have a 300-seat main stage theater, a black box theater, studios and classrooms.
Mercer Island has a very strong arts community and lots of major arts patrons. We are unique in that we already have well-known art groups on Mercer Island who will be our established users. Youth Theatre Northwest would be the principal tenant.
Because it would be located between Seattle and Bellevue, MICA’s venue should also be a draw for all types of area arts groups looking for a high-quality, more intimate setting for occasional concerts, master classes or other types of performances.
How are things going?
Sharon: Really well. The Mercer Island City Council has voted to move ahead with the MICA proposal (6-1). And that strong support resulted in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), so we can move forward. The required environmental review is going on right now. We have already raised the first $5 million to pay for planning, design and other startup efforts. And we will start the major capital campaign this fall.
Where is MICA located now?
Sharon: MICA is housed at a cottage at 7710 SE 29th Street. Just a few blocks from where the actual MICA will be built. We invite people to visit us. We have a wonderful Board of Directors, including some serious arts talent.