Drumming up backing for new performing arts center


Andrea Virgin noted the “Playbill” complete with a faux theater ticket on every table.

That was her way of introducing plans for the new performing arts center to the Boca Chamber at the monthly breakfast in the Boca Raton Marriott.

Awaiting the city’s OK for a land lease for the empty field in Mizner Park, Virgin has spent four years acquiring financial backing and support for Boca Raton Center for Arts & Innovation. Now she has $1.5 million in pledges and a design, shown in the Playbill and their website

“The project started in the boardroom of Boca Ballet,” where she trained as a professional ballerina and is now on the board as a civil engineer with commercial real estate experience. “The project is a team effort and most of our board members are here,” she said.

A video stepped watchers through the center visually, with theaters for performing arts that include a revamped amphitheater, and flex spaces for community gatherings, galas and corporate meetings.

Paired with the upcoming Brightline hi-speed rail station in Boca, Virgin envisions the center as a draw for visitors and tourists, not just a local venue.

“The pandemic has driven a pent-up demand for human connection. What will that surge be like? We have to position ourselves to be ready,” she said.

With so much exposure to virtual performances, people now have to be motivated to go see a performance in person. Virgin showed a separate video of digital immersive experiences, as examples of what the future will look like.

The new center will be ready to be available for use with hi-tech amenities, she said. “It will be used every moment and every day, not just on nights and weekends.”

By Marci Shatzman



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