Concept, cost for Harford arts center due this summer

The group trying to build the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in Abingdon hopes to have by summer a concept of what the building will look like and an estimated cost.

The organization is working with an architectural firm for a master plan for the site and is moving onto the conceptual design phase, Sallee Kunkel Filkins, executive director of the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts, told members of the Darlington-Dublin Community Council at the council's meeting Wednesday night at the Darlington fire house.

Representatives from the Center of the Arts are making the rounds to the different community councils to update residents on its progress.

The center is to be built on 41 acres near Route 24 and Wheel Road, on land was given to the county as gift by the estate of Emily Bayless Graham.

The organization and Harford County Executive David Craig signed a memorandum of agreement in October.

The agreement states that the county will provide up to one-third of funding for the building and will be responsible for interior and exterior maintenance.

The Center of the Arts will be responsible for maintaining and replacing all fixtures and furnishings in the building.

Filkins touched on some exhibits or events the center may draw in, such as exhibits from The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and performances from the recently formed Boom Theatre Co.

Ryan Nicotra, who grew up in Bel Air and is the company's director, expressed his excitement to bring the performing arts to the county.

"We're committed to making something really positive here," he said. Nicotra called the arts center "an exciting opportunity" that will "give arts a chance in Harford County."

The theater company, Nicotra noted, has many members who have roots in Harford County.

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