Historic Cheboygan Opera House awarded grant to the tune of $250K; will fund accessibility upgrades

What’s happening: The Cheboygan Area Arts Council (CAAC) has been awarded a grant to the tune of $250,000 from the Consumers Energy Foundation, it was announced late last week. The grant will fund accessibility improvements and renovations at the historic Cheboygan Opera House, which is managed by the CAAC.

What it is: The historic Cheboygan Opera House first opened in 1888 and has stood the test of time to become one of just seven remaining opera houses in the entire state of Michigan. The opera house had closed in the 1960s but reopened in 1984 after a significant restoration project and now hosts regular performances in the 582-seat theater. The Victorian-style building also houses Cheboygan City Hall, Police Department, and Fire Department.

What’s planned: The CAAC will use the $250,000 awarded to fund accessibility improvements at the 135-year-old theater, intended to ensure that the facility is accessible for both guests and performers of all physical abilities.

How they’re doing it: The Consumers Energy Foundation has awarded the CAAC one of two $250,000 Prosperity Awards; a bandshell project in Madison Heights won the second award. The annual awards support economic and community development projects throughout the Consumers Energy footprint in Michigan. The foundation’s annual Planet and People awards, each of which also award $500,000, were announced earlier this spring and summer, respectively.

Why it’s important: “Thanks to this generous investment from the Consumers Energy Foundation, we will be able to make numerous improvements to our theater that will remove barriers and make our space truly accessible to all patrons, students and performers,” says Owen Goslin, executive director of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council. “The current Opera House building has been the center of the performing arts in the Straits region since 1888, and we are excited to follow through on our mission of making the arts accessible to all of our community.”

The Cheboygan Opera House is located at 403 N. Huron St. in Cheboygan.

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