PACE Center Celebrates Five Years in Parker 9

About 225,000 Tickets Have Been Sold for 
Almost 1,000 Performances

The Parker Arts, Culture and Events (PACE) Center has had an incredibly first five years, providing quality entertainment and cultural education for thousands of Parker area residents.

“I have been amazed by how the Parker citizens have embraced this building and the work we do here,” says Parker Cultural Director Elaine Mariner. “Parker is special in that way. People have such an affinity for this town.”

Since opening in October 2011, the Center has accumulated some incredible statistics. To start, there have been almost 1,000 performances in its 536-seat theater. The PACE Center also has:

1. Sold about 225,000 tickets to various performances, including more than 150,000 to Parker Arts-presented shows and almost 74,000 for shows put on by other entities who rent the facility.

Among the five-year highlights are The Vienna Boys Choir, The Russian National Ballet, Always Patsy Cline, Bruce Hornsby, Clint Black. and the recent production of Mary Poppins and performance by the Charlie Daniels Band

“I think the mix of national touring acts has been well received and has made Parker residents feel real proud to have the PACE Center as part of their community,” Mariner says. “That’s evidenced by the fact that the shows have pretty much all sold out.”

2. Introduced 25,000 students to cultural topics through its educational programming that includes class and camp offerings in art, music, dance, theater, travel, technology, culinary, science and nature, and language arts.

“The families in Parker have been really great about making sure their children are exposed to dance classes, theater classes, art classes,” Mariner says. “We think there are other things they want, and we’re constantly trying to figure out what that is.”

These educational offerings go beyond the classroom to now include the annual Parker Honey Festival, the Rover Rally and the free Adult Lecture Series, as well as the inaugural Parker Shakespeare Festival for teens that will debut in 2017.

3. Professionally curated and housed about 30 exhibits in its Art Gallery, including the works of national and world-renowned artists, such as Quang Ho, Jay Moore and Lorenzo Chavez.

The gallery walls have also showcased pieces created by local artists from the Parker Artists Guild and Douglas County schools. During the anniversary celebration, the Gallery will feature the works of Duke Beardsley, William Matthews and Jill Soukup as part of its Art for Horses, an equine-themed art exhibit and sale benefiting two horse rescues.

4. Been the scene for about 75 marriage ceremonies – a number that is expected to climb with the recently landscaped terrace that combines with the scenic setting of the event room to create an elegant place for weddings and ceremonies.

5. Hosted multi-cultural engagement parties, birthday bashes, Polynesian dances, Chinese New Year celebrations and Latin concerts as part of its mission to be a cultural gathering space.

In 2014, several new initiatives were begun, including the introduction of student matinees, which allow teachers and school-aged kids to experience theater, and the Family Circle Membership program.

Mariner is especially proud of the membership program, which gives families the opportunity to support educational and outreach programs, while receiving benefits such as early purchase and/or discounted tickets, and access to special events.

“The membership program was our way of having that longer lasting connection with our patrons. It’s far exceeded our expectations,” she says, noting that there are about 450 active households who have paid anywhere from $50 to $1,000 to be a part of the program.

Mariner gets emotional when she talks about the love received from the community.

“People seem to have really certainly embraced the PACE Center and made it a part of their lives,” she says. “That makes me feel we’re on the right track – when people express how much they love coming to the PACE Center.”