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Kranzberg Arts Foundation to open new performing arts venue

Future home of .ZACK
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio
Future home of .ZACK performing arts incubator

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation is developing the new multi-media arts space called .ZACK (pronounced Zack). Kranzberg Arts Foundation’s Director of Operations Chris Hansen said the project will help develop the broader St. Louis theater scene.

“There needs to be a synergy in this new theater district that we’re developing here in Grand Center” he said. “It becomes a place where the performing arts world not only works but they start to build community and fellowship.”

Midtown Alley is getting its first “performing arts incubator,” which will include will include a theater, co-op office space, restaurant and a working scene shop. This will be the third area space developed by Kranzberg Arts Foundation. The organization will continue to run the arts centerlocated at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Olive Sttreet, as well as the Marcelle Theater. Hansen says both spaces are currently operating at capacity.

The new space will inhabit the four-story historic Cadillac Building at 3224 Locust St. 

.ZACK is intended to house up to six resident arts organizations that will share the resources such as a stage, rooms to construct and paint sets, and house props, and offices.

The project also includes a restaurant helmed by former Café Osage chef David Kirkland. Kirkland will additionally run a catering company that will service the fourth floor event space. 

In a press release, Ken Kranzberg said the new building continues building on their foundation’s ideals.

"Nancy and I have always felt that one of the most important things St. Louis has to offer is its cultural vibrancy – not just in terms of the large institutions, but also the small grassroots organizations that bring enormous diversity to the city's cultural landscape; and we made up our minds that we wanted to do something that would help make that possible," said Kranzberg.

And some in the arts community agree. Em Piro, founder of STL Fringe, said smaller supportive venues like .ZACK can help develop the city’s cultural identity.

“We invest in other types of enterprise - tech start-ups, independent contractors, designers - it makes sense, with St Louis showing itself to be a dexterous and emerging market, to dedicate attention in the same way to the arts and the specific needs unique to this industry,” she said in an email.

The theater and lobby areas are intended to be operational this coming August.