New JACC ‘full speed ahead’

The first shovel won’t be lifted until 2018, but those involved with the effort for the new Juneau Arts and Culture Center say that the long-planned project has gained major ground.


One of the most important steps is getting the money organizers need to build it. Led by Juneauite Ken Leghorn, 16 percent of the $25 million price tag has been raised in the last few months, according to the new JACC’s website — approaching $3 million, Leghorn said. Much of the funding for the new JACC will come from private donations, though they also have $1 million from City and Borough of Juneau sales tax approved in 2012, and, said project coordinator Katharine Heumann, they’re pursuing any source of funding they can.

Other people are fundraising in other ways. 2017 marks the fourth year the Motown for Our Town event has fundraised for the new JACC, Heumann said.

Local pianist and piano teacher Mary Watson organized a series of donation-based concerts to raise money for the new JACC to have a new grand piano. So far, through donations and a match from Juneau resident Ron Maas, they’ve raised $20,000. Watson and Juneau Arts and Humanities Council executive director Nancy DeCherney will travel to Oregon this week to purchase one, Watson said. The final concert in the series is 3 p.m. Sunday, March 12 at Northern Light United Church.

The new JACC’s Partnership Board has contributed $500,000 between them, and several Juneau families or residents are contributing between $100,000 and $500,000 in a combination of contributions and pledges. Leghorn is mentoring Betsy Brenneman, who will soon take over as the new fundraising manager.


The design process for the new JACC has been collaborative, with several community workshops during the architect selection, and more during the design process. At those meetings, arts organization leaders and community members discussed their needs and desires for the building.

So far, the plan includes a 300-seat community theatre with about a third of the seats in a balcony area, a big community hall, a performance studio, a seminar room, a visual art gallery, a gift shop, office space for arts organizations, a café, a sound studio, an outdoor courtyard, and Juneau Arts &Humanities Council offices, according to the new JACC’s brochure. The eight rental spaces for local arts organizations will both encourage collaboration and help out with the new JACC’s revenues, Heumann said.

New JACC organizers will be having another town hall-style meeting soon to update those who are interested, though that date is not yet set.

“Full speed ahead”

They aim to break ground in the spring of 2018. By that date, they’ll need to have most of the $25 million raised or pledged.

The new JACC’s partnership board recently decided on a contractor – Cornerstone Construction, out of Anchorage.

“We just keep making these giant steps, and that’s a big one,” said Heumann.

At this stage, Cornerstone will work side by side with the Juneau firm NorthWind Architects and the design and construction committee of the board to fine-tune the schematic design, she said.

The current JACC will be torn down as the new, larger one is built, a process that will take around two years.

“It will be important for the new building to come up as quickly as possible, because everything that happens in this building will be temporarily displaced to other spaces in town,” Heumann said.

They aim to have a ribbon-cutting for the new JACC in 2020.

“I think it hasn’t really hit a lot of people yet (that it’s happening)” Heumann said. “We’re going full speed ahead.”

The new JACC’s website, and a way to donate, is at

Read a September article about the community meetings here:

• Contact Capital City Weekly editor Mary Catharine Martin at


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback