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Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
The lobby in the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem has been fully remodeled.

OREM — Theater floors devoid of gum and sticky soda residue, cup holders accompanying new chairs, lavish hand-painted art deco walls with matching carpeting — it's a whole new era for the SCERA.

Thanks to private and corporate donations, and Orem's new CARE tax, the SCERA Center for the Arts has pulled out of a slump, and is back providing a variety of arts and education programs for the public — something it has done for nearly 75 years.

"Our current vision is to take what we have and make it the best we can," said Adam Robertson, president and CEO of SCERA

Robertson said renovations on the building will continue through the next few years.

With a $1 million donation from Xango, the Grand Theater received a much needed face-lift. Bassett Furniture donated overstuffed leather couches, wing back chairs, lamps, rugs, tables and more to adorn the lobby by Showhouse II. That lobby is now painted a warm red and yellow.

Thanks to the Ray and Tye Noorda Family Foundation, the SCERA was given 2.5 acres with two commercial buildings east of the main center, where SCERA has opened a state-of-the art costume, prop and scene shop. The second building is currently under final reconditioning and by the first of the year, will hold 1,000 square feet of classrooms for art instruction, including an easel room and a pottery room.

Just how much the community is involved with the SCERA can be seen from the 2005-06 statistical reports:

The number of children and teenagers involved in youth programs comes to more than 15,000.

The Cinema Series Summer Matinees for children had 32,276 patrons.

SCERA Shell attendance in the summer of 2006 was more than 50,000.

SCERA Encore season attendance was more than 40,000.

Currently there are 27 educational programs offered.

"There is something about the spirit of SCERA that money can't buy, people feel it. There is a unique special feeling here, a spirit of community 74 years strong," Robertson said. Part of that are the volunteers. Robertson said the SCERA has the largest training program in the area for volunteers.

"These kids are learning how to work in the workplace. Nowhere else (in this area) is there a community theater owned by the community," he said.

The SCERA management only shows family-friendly movies and theater productions, said Robertson. "SCERA's standards and values will never change. As the world changes, that will make SCERA standout more, we won't compromise."

As for the future, Robertson has a table full of projects and goals: five additional dressing rooms, a green room and storage units are currently being built in space freed up by moving the costume shop; remodeling the refreshment area; enlarging the current lobby and the stage; and additional programs for youth and adults.

E-mail: [email protected]