For the last few years, the Friends of the Performing Arts Center have been hard at work trying to make a vision come to life: One where the Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center becomes one of the draws for visitors and residents in the city.
A renovation project has been in the works since 2019 when the City Commission approved plans to renovate the lobby and main hallway of the 1982 building located at 399 N. U.S. 1. A former church, evidence of its original use are still visible today as church pews remain in the lobby to offer seating. The city purchased the building in 1988, and opened as the Performing Arts Center in 1991. It has not been majorly updated since.
But the Friends of the PAC are hoping that changes very soon.
Lucy Jackman, chair of the nonprofit, said the improvements planned for the building are going to be "huge."
“To me, this is the cultural center of the city, and it needs to be even a bigger cultural center," Jackman said.
The project is estimated to cost $1 million, and the Friends of the PAC are working to raise as much toward the cost as possible. The group has obtained two grants to date from the Daytona Beach Racing and Recreational Facilities District — a $20,000 grant and a $165,000 grant — and they are hoping to apply for an ECHO grant in the next county cycle. It's an effort that is supported by the City Commission, who in Oct. 5, unanimously directed staff to help Jackman in the process, and expressed being in favor of amending the budget if necessary to help.
Other improvements coming to the PAC come by way of concessions, as the city has put out a bid for a third-party to take over. This facilitate the sale of beer and wine at the building, which the PAC has never sold. Jackman said one of the most common pieces of feedback from patrons is their wish to purchase beer and wine before a show.
In addition, the PAC has partnered with the Ormond Memorial Art Museum to host exhibits, and the PAC is currently hosting its third pop-up show, "A Gallery of Gratitude," to be on display through Dec. 13.
When the Friends of the PAC started talking about the renovations, they were originally focused only on the inside.
“But, as the discussion went on with our board, we said, ‘You know, people aren’t going to see anything until they come inside. They’ve got to be aware that we’re outside,’" Jackman said. "That’s when we went and said we’re going to extend the project to the outside.”
The Friends of the PAC are hoping the building is repainted, new lighting is installed, and that the existing stone features are removed for a more modern look.
Another of the group's goals is to start helping to bring in entertainment to the building. Future fundraisers are now in discussion.
“This needs to be a priority at all times, and it hasn’t been," Jackman said. "It seems to be now it is, we’re hoping, and when it’s done, people in this city are going to be amazed. They really are.”