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Empire Arts Center reveals Studio E

Empire Arts Executive Director Emily Burkland smiles after the official ribbon cutting at Studio E in the basement of Empire Arts Center Wednesday night during the new black box theatre's inaugural show by local artist Adam Kemp. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald1 / 5
Local artist Adam Kemp, center, talks to gallery patrons at his Kempire Pop Up Party, the inaugural show at the Empire Arts Center's new space Studio E, which will be used as a multi-purpose "black box theatre," meaning it could be used for gallery shows, live theatre, dance, and a variety of other things. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald2 / 5
Gallery patrons browse local artist Adam Kemp's show Kempire Pop Up Party on the opening night of the new art space "Studio E" in the basement of Empire Arts Center. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald3 / 5
Gallery patrons browse local artist Adam Kemp's show Kempire Pop Up Party on the opening night of the new art space "Studio E" in the basement of Empire Arts Center. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald4 / 5
Gallery patrons browse local artist Adam Kemp's show Kempire Pop Up Party on the opening night of the new art space "Studio E" in the basement of Empire Arts Center. Photo by Kile Brewer/Grand Forks Herald5 / 5

With black walls, black floor, a black ceiling and filled with art, the basement of the Empire Arts Center looked different Wednesday night.

And it will continue to look different as the Empire’s new evolving space, Studio E.

Over the past year, Empire staff worked to convert their basement into a black box theater, which is a simple, all-black space meant to be transformed for several types of events.

“It’s meant to be used as a flexible performance space,” said Emily Burkland, executive director of the Empire.

Studio E has already been used informally as rehearsal space and for receptions, but its first official event was the Kempire Pop Up Art Party, a one-night art exhibit of local artist Adam Kemp on Wednesday.

Kemp said Studio E was “perfect” for his art. “I rarely get to see my art like this. … It’s fun,” he said.

About 40 to 50 people were at the event Wednesday, and many wrote their ideas of what Studio E could be used for on poster paper outside the exhibit.

Some of the ideas written down included: knitting club, band practice and dinner theater.

Burkland said she is excited for all of the different ways Studio E can be used, adding that it lends itself to some of the Empire Theatre Company’s contemporary productions.

Upcoming events at Studio E include an art exhibit by Peter Stevenson Aug. 11-16 and the Empire Theatre Company’s production of “Doubt: A Parable” in October.

Charly Haley
Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.
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