Community celebrates grand opening of cultural arts center and theater in Missouri City

Tre Thomas still remembers the Christmas lights and trees in the parking lot of a Houston mall near Missouri City where he spent time as a child.

The square now consists of empty storefronts. Some walls are damaged or covered with graffiti.

But that should change soon.

The community recently welcomed Edison Lofts, a nearby complex that includes affordable and market-priced apartments and a preschool center. And on Saturday, community leaders and members held a groundbreaking ceremony for the second phase of the project – The Edison Center.

It will include “a 32,000-square-foot cultural arts center with a 400-seat performing arts theater, a community health clinic, an after-school youth center, an outdoor Festival Park green space, two business incubators. small businesses and affordable retail spaces, ”according to a press release.

And Thomas, 46, of Cypress, plans to set up another location for his business, The Station Seafood Co., in space.

“I have so many good feelings associated with this,” he said of another location for his restaurant in a community he grew up in. He described it as “the circle has come full circle”.

Charity Carter, founder of the Edison Arts Foundation, described the center as an “opportunity” guided by three core values: family, community and art.

If kids are involved, so will their families – and coming together, with art as the catalyst to do it, that’s what that shift will look like, Carter said. And when families and the community come together, they can help meet its needs, said the 47-year-old Fort Bend County resident.

Mayra Bullock knows firsthand how exposure to the arts can influence a young person. The 38-year-old met Carter, who was her dance teacher, when she was in her senior year at a high school in the Houston Independent School District. She said it was the first time she had met someone who looked like her, a woman of color, in the arts.

“Sure, I’ve seen people on TV and stuff like that, but it was really my first experience in public education where I was like, ‘Oh man, I could really do this for a living. “, And I can study it and all that,” she told the gathered people. “So that sort of thing set the tone for me to pursue dance and the performing arts and things like that. “

Bullock, a resident of the Greater Third Ward in Houston who sits on the board of directors of the Edison Arts Foundation, said in an interview that she continued to study dance before returning to Houston and working with Carter at the Fort Bend Academy of Arts & Dance from the ground. In 2008, she started dancing with the Urban Souls Dance Company, where she said she was also the rehearsal director.

In his remarks to the crowd, Bullock spoke about the need for accessibility to the arts in communities.

“And once the community, especially our young people, realizes that there are possibilities, there is hope,” she said. “And we all know what hope does for us. And once you have those possibilities and that hope, you feel like you can do anything – there are no limits, the sky is the limit.

Bullock also noted in an interview that there would be black-owned businesses at the Edison Center, which she said was “huge” for the community.

“No dream or vision or idea that they have is too small,” she said.

The second phase of the project, which has a fundraising target of $ 18.6 million, is expected to be completed in December 2022. Those wishing to contribute to the effort can find more information on the Foundation’s website. Edison Arts,

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