The Freeman Stage has become Freeman Arts Pavilion, signaling the next chapter in our evolution, and has adopted a new brand consistent with our vision for the future. Given the success of the pod concept last year, we decided to utilize a phased approach on our new property, given the current public health environment caused by the pandemic. The new site will feature a graded lawn with stunning views.
Growing the Arts on Delmarva for all
Since the unveiling of the Freeman Arts Pavilion in 2021, the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation has continued our evolution by strengthening our new brand, growing arts opportunities and consistently shining as a premiere arts organization on Delmarva. We are excited to start the next phase in our journey to reaching the final Freeman Arts Pavilion with the construction of the first buildings. As an arts nonprofit, we are thrilled to move toward more opportunities to serve our community and continue to offer top-quality arts experiences.
Although the new physical structure of the Freeman Arts Pavilion is still several years away, we have established a multi-phase plan that will allow us to expand our seating capacity in 2021. The parcel of land adjacent to the prior Stage area will provide ample space for more than 3,000 patrons.
The Next Phase
After the completion of the 2022 performance season, we began the next steps for Freeman Arts Pavilion. We are proud to share the construction of the first two permanent structures will begin in early 2023. These structures include a new Box Office — offering more opportunities for guests to interact with our team through information needs, ticket purchasing, and more — as well as a new entrance that will offer even more convenience for guests arriving for performances. With the construction of the new entry, we will install a new sidewalk along Lakeview Drive for patrons walking toward the entrance from the western side of the venue. The sidewalk will also include additional lighting.
In 2022, we introduced a Park & Ride option, situated just 1 mile away on Route 20, that allowed a convenient and flexible parking location for guests to utilize during various performances when crowds were expected to be larger. Improvements to the Park & Ride lot will be completed by early 2023 including grading and enhanced lighting. The parking lots adjacent to Freeman Arts Pavilion will also be improved for the 2023 season. The result of these improvements will be expanded parking capacity with striped spaces, EV charging stations, golf cart parking and connected sidewalks from parking areas.
As we head into 2023, we look forward to sharing these updates with you and showcasing the improvements to enjoy in the upcoming season. We plan for construction to run from December to May, just in time to welcome guests to another star-filled and memory making season of music, theatre, comedy, and more. We can’t wait to see you!
Construction of the new venue will be completed gradually over the coming four to six years, limiting construction to the off-season (October through May). When complete, the new facility (see image below) will accommodate 4,000 patrons, with 1,100 under roof, and features state-of-the-art sounds, lighting and video capabilities, an expanded concession and dining area, artists’ dressing room and production space.
Become Part of the Future with Freeman Arts Pavilion
Show your support for the future of the arts on Delmarva by donating to our capital campaign. Contact Darren Silvis, Development Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more.
The first phase of the Freeman Arts Pavilion debuted in 2021. The final proposed facility (pictured above) will have a large, covered stage, with a seating capacity of over 4,000 patrons (with 1,100 seats under roof), a grand lawn, state-of-the-art sound, lighting and video capabilities, an expanded concession and dining area, additional restrooms, and artists' dressing room and production space. Final construction is expected to be completed in four to six years based on scheduling and fundraising goals.
The Freeman Arts Pavilion will provide the same feel and views as the former Freeman Stage venue, with expanded capacity. Over 13 years, our shows have grown in both quantity and quality of performances as well as audience demand. Freeman Arts Pavilion will allow our capacity to grow from the pre-pandemic maximum audience of 2,700 patrons to over 4,000 audience members when the final phase of Freeman Arts Pavilion is complete.
The proposed final facility may cost $27 million. The Joshua M. Freeman Foundation has raised about $20 million through grants and donations, and a public phase of a capital campaign has launched to raise additional funds.
The Freeman Arts Pavilion has been in the planning stages for several years and the final iteration is described in the questions above. Because of the pandemic, a phased approach to the project was created and implemented, which allowed us to accommodate more patrons than our current venue in a safe manner as outlined by state and CDC guidelines.