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Eastside and the Arts

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Written by
Morrena Villanueva

Bellevue is continually referred to as a satellite city, and understandably so. However, research shows that the Eastside is among the top four demographic areas in the United States primed for cultural expansion, and the Tateuchi Center is at the heart of its evolution.

The Tateuchi Center will be a premier preforming arts venue in downtown Bellevue, featuring a 2,000-seat concert hall and 250-seat black box theater that will showcase the finest regional, national and international music, theater and dance. The space hopes to be one of the first world-class performing arts centers of the 21st century.

“Tateuchi Center has been painstakingly designed by a team of the most experienced and prominent architects and theater professionals in the country,” says John Haynes, executive director and CEO of Tateuchi Center. “We worked together over a period of more than three years to create a performing arts center for Bellevue and the Eastside that will rival any similar cultural facility on the West Coast.”

The plan for the theater began in 2002 with the Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE) and the mission to bring a performing arts center to Bellevue. In 2010, the board of directors named the project Tateuchi Center to honor a $25 million gift from the Tateuchi Foundation, one of the largest pledges in regional history.

The City of Bellevue has also recognized the need for Eastside residents to have a cultural arts facility, and in May 2015 the city donated $20 million to Tateuchi Center. This commitment from the city to the arts invigorated the project.

Tateuchi Center is poised to become one of the premier cultural centers in the Northwest. The Paramount Theatre, the 5th Avenue Theatre, Benaroya Hall and McCaw Hall are among Tateuchi Center’s peers, but the Tateuchi will be the only major facility outside of downtown Seattle. Members from the Seattle Symphony, the 5th Avenue Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Village Theatre are represented on the Tateuchi Center’s advisory board.

“We have the support of local arts groups and communities because we all understand that the arts are amazing and there is a need to fill in the Eastside,” says Christina Greene, associate director. “We would be an Eastside location for the Symphony and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.”

Tateuchi Center will present as many as 100 performances annually by regional and international performers from a variety of genres, appealing to patrons from all walks of life and bringing entertainment, expression and ideas to the Eastside.

“Bellevue is a diverse population and we have all this confluence of people from different places in the world coming together,” says Greene. “We want to be able to provide diverse programming that appeals to people of diverse interests.”

Building the Tateuchi Center is a priority for the Eastside community in many ways. It will create jobs, improve economic competiveness, strengthen regional arts groups and bring the Eastside to center stage as a cultural hub.

Currently, the Tateuchi Center is focusing on raising remaining funds so they can stay on schedule and break ground in spring 2017 to open in fall 2019—just in time for the performing arts season to begin.

“Tateuchi Center will change lives. It will change the community and forge stronger bonds between us as neighbors and friends,” says Haynes. “That’s what the arts do. And I know that the day will come when the people of our region will scarcely believe they ever made do without it.”

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