When it opens in the fall of 2022, the “Schaap Center” at the corner of Alter Road and Jefferson Avenue will be home to the A. Paul and Carol C. Schaap Center for the Performing Arts and the Richard and Jane Manoogian Art Gallery and an additional community art gallery.
The Schaaps, who spurred the project with a property purchase in 2012, pledged a total of $15 million, and the Manoogians committed an additional $5.5 million. With other gifts that have come in, the nonprofit has raised $22.8 million of its $35 million campaign goal to cover capital costs and create a $10 million permanent endowment.
As envisioned, the nonprofit center will provide a home for the Grosse Pointe Theatre and the Grosse Pointe Symphony Orchestra and host rotating exhibits of works from private art collections around the region in its museum-quality art gallery. In addition to that, there will be community exhibit space for local and visiting artists and student artists, Jaime Rae Turnbull, interim executive director of the Schaap Center, said.
But the new center is not something that is just for the Pointes, said Lumigen Inc. founder A. Paul Schaap, who is chairing the nonprofit leading the project.
Other performing arts groups and artists from Detroit and the region will also be invited, he said. Organizers are also talking with several groups about performing at the center, including: Grosse Pointe Community Chorus, Mosaic Youth Theatre, Detroit Medical Orchestra, Detroit Concert Choir, Detroit Public Television and Michigan Opera Theatre.
Schaap said he and his wife love the theater and symphony and have supported various groups, including the Hilberry and Bonstelle theaters at Wayne State University where they both worked. The Grosse Pointe Theatre has been performing over last several years at local high schools and moving from place to place, he said.
“That’s not very good for a group of that quality; they’re going to have a wonderful home at the Schaap Center.”
They see the new center “as a potential gem” for the broader Grosse Pointe-Detroit community, he said.