The original dream of DCA, manifested through the efforts of many, has made Door County a better, stronger, richer place. And now, after 30 seasons of being a conduit for magic, community dialogue, learning, and cultural exploration, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding. With the support of 32 households and foundations, DCA recently completed a 10-month journey to purchase the neighboring property, formerly known as The Fish Creek Grill/Carlos Banditos.
The property will eventually provide a home for a pre- and post-event reception area, expanded accessible parking, business offices, a full catering kitchen for improved touring artist hospitality, indoor and outdoor performance spaces for small-scale events, and music lessons for instruments not offered in the schools. Located directly across Highway 42 from DCA and the southern edge of Gibraltar Schools’ campus, the recent installation of sidewalks, lighting, and an ADA compliant crosswalk complete with flashing lights and median has greatly improved passage between the two properties. The acquisition protects DCA’s business interests by ensuring that an incompatible business won’t occupy the space in the future while preserving this corner of Fish Creek (which includes DCA, Gibraltar Schools, Peninsula School of the Arts, Peninsula State Park, and YMCA) as a vibrant hub for arts, education, and health.
As it has for 30 years, presenting high-quality national touring acts and diverse cultural programming year-round on the DCA Main Stage—in partnership with the community and Gibraltar Schools—will continue to be at the heart of our mission. In fact, this acquisition will expand organizational capacity and improve the audience, student, donor, and artist experience, putting us in a stronger position for the next several decades.
This is a bold undertaking and some of you may wonder at the timing of this purchase. After all, the pandemic canceled 15 months of DCA events, erasing budgeted ticket sales, concessions, venue rental, and technical service reimbursement income. Still, several factors (including longtime conservative fiscal management, emergency government funding restricted for staff retention and fixed operating costs, a generous rent reduction from the school, and loyal donor support) have helped us successfully navigate the unprecedented financial landscape of 2020 and 2021. These avenues of support not only kept our doors open and out staff employed, they also enabled us to present virtual, locally focused programming until in-person performances and national tours resumed. Moreover, along with continual contingency planning, we used this unwanted, extended break from sharing live performance to think strategically about our future. Our reflections have reinforced our beliefs that we can best assist our community in rebuilding, reshaping, and repairing community connections by sharing music and the performing arts not only on our main stage, but also in more intimate, informal, and educational channels. We invite you to learn more about this dream.