The Lecter Center for the Arts
843 Rogers Avenue

First constructed in the mid-1990s, the Lecter Center for the Arts is named for the generous, largely anonymous donor who provided the bulk of the funding for the facility's creation and continued maintenance. The Center is a vast, very aesthetically pleasing structure that sits on a carefully cultivated plot of land on the banks of the Mesqotonic River, near the southern spur of the center proper. A garden filled with flowering shrubs, young trees and rows of blossoms surrounds the building proper; at least a dozen sculptures are on display here at any given time, scattered widely among the plants. The Center itself is an asymmetrical, soaring three-story glass and brick structure, reflecting (under ideal conditions) the deep blue sky, the green landscape and the gently flowing waters of the river below, not only in the arrays of massive glass windows, but also in its very design, which rises and falls like an ocean wave, creating lines that flow organically into the land.

The building's interior features include a fifteen hundred seat theatre and concert hall with excellent lighting and stellar acoustics; the centerpiece of the facility, this venue is used for a number of low-priced concerts and regional and community theatre productions each year. All costs are subsidized by funds from the Lecter Center Trust, so that tickets remain affordable even when the Center is offering a concert by some particularly well-known performer, which it does on the order of once a year. There are also a number of atriums and art galleries which host a variety of exhibits, ranging from shows featuring local artists to traveling exhibits featuring world-famous painters, sculptors and photographers. The exhibits offered here tend to be rather conservative in their content, as the Center's directors prefer to avoid controversy, but the exhibits offer a fairly wide range of styles, mediums and subject matters nonetheless. The directors draw the line at sexually explicit photography, the Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung and pornographic representations of significant religious events -- that's about it.

Aside from the ample exhibition space, the Center offers a number of art studios and workshops, and employs a large staff of part-time teachers, offering community courses in everything from painting to sculpting to acting. Most of these courses are youth-oriented; the classes for younger children are free, while teenagers are usually charged a nominal fee, which can be waived if they're receiving academic credit for the class. A few courses for adults are offered each year and usually cost somewhat more, though nowhere near as much as a comparable college course would cost. The Center also rents out many of its facilities to Shadowgard residents, charging a nominal equipment and facilities fee and therefore offering affordable practice and studio space to any and all aspiring artists, actors or musicians in the community at large.