The Milwaukee Ballet celebrated the opening of its new two-story, 52,000-square-foot home in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood on Wednesday.
Supporters of the new Baumgartner Center for Dance, at 128 N. Jackson St., gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony and tour of the facility.
Philanthropists Donna and Donald Baumgartner, founder of Milwaukee-based Paper Machinery Corp., gave the lead gift of $10 million to jump start the organization’s $26 million capital campaign. Justin Mortara, immediate past board chair and president of the Milwaukee Ballet, said Wednesday that the organization exceeded its campaign goal, with contributions coming from 100 donors.
“Today is the culmination of years of planning, daring and persistence and we are so grateful to the Baumgartners and all the donors who made this dream a reality,” said Michael Pink, artistic director.
The new facility includes two large rehearsal halls for the ballet’s main dance company, multiple classrooms for children and adults, and five other rehearsal studios for children. It also includes 200-seat performance studio.
The Ballet has now moved out of its former training studio and offices at 504 W. National Ave. in Walker’s Point. It will continue to perform at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.
Milwaukee Ballet purchased land for the new facility from the Italian Community Center in late 2017, and broke ground on the center in June 2018. The building designed by HGA’s Jim Shields and was built by Catalyst Construction.
Pink said the Ballet will continue raising funds for other new projects. Next up, the Ballet plans to create a new production of The Nutcracker with support coming from its artistic fund. The organization’s Give Back to MKE Fund, meanwhile, will help support programming for its community engagement work, including sustaining its presence in the 53204 zip code, as well as increasing its impact in 53206.
“We have secured the land, building and operating reserve through the incredible generosity of around 100 donors,” Pink said. “We look forward to the next fundraising phase as we engage more of our patrons and community members in the Artistic and Give Back to MKE Funds.”