Circus Arts Conservatory Unveils Upgraded and Iconic Arena

Todays News

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY WEDNESDAY PHILANTHROPY EDITION WEDNESDAY APR 10, 2019

On a normal Tuesday, the sight of stilt-walkers at 10am could be surprising. Throw in a trio of besequined jugglers, and the whole situation would be downright strange. But yesterday was no normal Tuesday, as the Circus Arts Conservatory—and all its local friends and supporters—gathered outside the freshly renovated Sailor Circus Arena to cut that big red ribbon and see what CAC and the Sailor Circus Academy have in store for the next 70 years.

It’s been little more than a year since the Sailor Circus Arena shuttered its doors, and in that time Tandem Construction and the minds behind the CAC have transformed a 40-year-old facility with no air conditioning and more potential than space into an iconic arena—and the largest event venue in town.

Boasting 28,050-square-feet of open space, the upgraded arena can comfortably seat 2,287 spectators, light any show or performance with 160 lighting relays (complete with dimming system) and, all told, a 100,000 square foot, four-story building could fit under the metal dome. But in perhaps the most important addition for the performers and teachers who will be sweating away in the space, a new dual set of massive air conditioning units keep the air as cool as the aerialists twirling through it. Thanks to the expansion, the CAC will also now offer new programming for all ages and abilities, and be open year-round.

With a $4.35-million price tag, the project represented a joint effort, and CAC leaders took their time in front of the ribbon to thank the many supporters gathered. The institution—CAC and Sailor Circus Academy—is “much more than just a circus,” said CAC Founder Pedro Reis, and this new arena a “milestone” and a “dream come true” for the school and the greater circus legacy. “Life is about making a difference,” added Dolly Jacobs-Reis, fellow CAC founder, “and we have made a difference for these kids.” CAC Board Chair Jack Brown agreed. “It has taken a village of caring people,” he said in his brief remarks. “Here’s to caring people.” 

And not only the young performers of the Sailor Circus Academy will benefit from this substantial upgrade, according to CAC COO Jennifer Mitchell. In addition to being available to rent for any performing organization or business looking to put on a production or host an out-of-the-box conference, the new facility will be put to work as the CAC finds new ways to create even more educational opportunities for surrounding high schools. “I guarantee that’s coming,” said Mitchell.

Photo by Cliff Roles, courtesy of Circus Arts Conservatory.

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