History of the Arts Resource Center

The Arts Resource Center was sold in 2013 after Black Hills Community Theatre, Rapid City Children’s Chorus, Allied Arts Fund and Black Hills Symphony Orchestra moved in to the new Performing Arts Center of Rapid City. Until that sale, the ARC played a very important role for the performing arts in Rapid City…

Those people who were involved with the arts in Rapid City before 1998 knew what it was to be a nomad.  As arts activity increased,  space for groups offering multiple program seasons became scarce.  In the interest of economy, plays and musicals were rehearsed in basements, church halls and vacant stores . . . anywhere empty space could be found for an evening.  Often the rehearsal location changed from night to night. The Symphony had offices in spare rooms of the homes of board members and music and materials were stored wherever they could find space.  The Allied Arts downtown provided a weeks exercise to reach the doors, and the Rapid City Children’s Chorus had their robes, music and costumes scattered across the city.

In the mid 1990’s, the Black Hills Community Theatre set out to solve some of the space problems and led a collaborative effort to build a facility that would meet the myriad space needs for several arts organizations:  the Allied Arts Fund Drive, Black Hills Community Theatre, Black Hills Symphony Orchestra and Rapid City Children’s Chorus.  This effort resulted in the construction of the Black Hills Arts Resource Center, a 12,000 square foot facility that opened on March 12, 1997 at 1202 E. St. Francis Street in Rapid City.

Since its opening, the Arts Resource Center (the ARC, as it is known to its inhabitants and users) has provided a variety of different spaces for a number of different arts organizations in Rapid City.  The building houses the administrative offices of the Black Hills Community Theatre and provides a scene shop for set construction and storage, a prop shop and a costume shop for assembly for shows, rental and storage.  The facility has two large studio rooms for play, dance and music rehearsals. The ARC also has office space and storage for the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra, offices for the Allied Arts Fund Drive and storage space for the Rapid City Children’s Chorus, as well as the School of Mines Drama Club. Over the years spaces at the ARC have also been utilized for private classes, including dance and children’s dramatics. Several Education and Outreach programs of BHCT, including Cherry Street Players, were inaugurated at the ARC and would not exist today without the rehearsal accommodations of the Arts Resource Center.

The Arts Resource Center was owned and operated by a separate tax exempt 501(c)(3) organization comprised of a partnership between the Allied Arts Fund Drive, the Black Hills Community Theatre, the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra and the Rapid City Children’s Chorus.  A Board of Directors, consisting of a representative from each of the member organizations, has successfully managed the facility since it opened. The Board establishes the budget, hires services, makes and executes operating policies, generally governs use of the building and assures the solvency of the organization and smooth operations of the ARC for all of its tenants and short term renters.

The history of the ARC serves as a model of a true and very successful collaborative effort among several arts groups in the Rapid City community, demonstrating that such a facility can be created and financially survive if parties share the same vision, are willing to make compromises and work together to meet the needs of all groups involved.