Luminary Arts Center - MN Opera


Architectural, Commercial, Interiors


Minneapolis - North Loop

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Completed September 2022

Team: Shelter, Nth, LS Black Constructors, Schuler Shook, Kirkegaard, MBJ, Quetica

Photos: Shelter Architecture

The Luminary Arts Center building is an 8,000-square-foot stone box with 30-foot ceilings, carved out of the foundation of a historic Itasca warehouse along the Mississippi River. It’s located right next door to the Minnesota Opera Center, three warehouse buildings that Minnesota Opera moved into and renovated in 1990 to house its scenic and costume shops, rehearsal facilities, and administrative offices.

The theater, like its North Loop neighborhood, is rich in history. Designed and developed in 1988 for the Guthrie Theater as a laboratory for new works, the space served as the Guthrie’s second stage until the completion of its current theater complex in 2006. More recently, under executive producer Mary Kelley Leer, the theater (then called the Lab Theater) became a lively stage for both emerging and established performing artists in theater, music, dance, cabaret, fashion, and burlesque.

Minnesota Opera had been approached several times over the years to purchase the space, and finally did in 2019. The previous managers and tenants continued their work and performances without interruption through the start of the pandemic. On June 1, 2021, Minnesota Opera assumed management of the space. Beginning in July 2021, Minnesota Opera embarked on a major $6-million-dollar renovation of the building that concluded in July 2022. The space reopened to renters in September, 2022.

— from an article in Mill City Times by Becky Fillinger