Our Renovation Project


magine a small Maine community whose economic growth and cultural identity is informed and inspired by the performing arts; where greater access to world-class performers has led to a surge of economic development and well-being; where children participate with artists, musicians, and actors on stage, and learn from them in their own classrooms; and where these experiences are accessible and affordable for all.

If you live near Gardiner, Maine and have experienced the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center, you likely know first-hand of this cultural and economic phenomenon.  And the best news is that Johnson Hall is just beginning to fulfill its potential as a stimulating and vibrant regional asset.

The Project

After years of building a performing arts organization with a growing audience base, excellent educational programs, strong community partnerships, and a reputation for artistic quality and fiscal responsibility, Johnson Hall has outgrown its current space and is ready to expand and complete renovations to its three-story, two-theater performing arts facility.

Rehabilitating the top two floors of Johnson Hall will cost $4.9 million.  Of this, $1.7 million (35%) will come from federal and state historic tax credits.  The remaining $3.2 million (65%) will be funded with private support.

The completed facility will include:

  • A 400-seat theater on the 3rd floor, with an upper balcony, raked seating to improve sight lines, and state-of-the-art sound, lighting, and projection equipment;
  • A gracious lobby and concessions area, restrooms, and a green room/dressing room for performers on the 2nd floor;
  • An expanded foyer and full-service box office on the ground floor; and
  • ADA-compliant access to all areas of the facility, including an elevator.

When renovations are complete, Johnson Hall will house two fully functional theaters, ensuring much greater flexibility for programming.

Community Partnership

Johnson Hall has developed strong community partnerships by collaborating with civic and arts organizations that also have been instrumental in creating economic development opportunities and enhancing community and cultural programming.  Key partners include Gardiner Main Street, the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Kennebec Valley Art Association (Harlow Gallery), the Boys and Girls Club of Kennebec Valley, the Gardiner Public Library, downtown merchants, area school districts, and the City of Gardiner.

The fully renovated venue will have the capacity to host community events such as dance recitals, regional high school musicals, and graduations. The Opera House also will provide opportunities for local government and community nonprofit gatherings that require a large and welcoming space, state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, and a comfortable environment.

Johnson Hall intends to be an engine of economic opportunity for the Kennebec Valley community. Building on 150 years of entertainment in the old Opera House, we are committed to this goal and welcome any and all support from across the state and throughout the Northeast. We invite you to join us!

Raising Funds

Our staff, Campaign Counsel, Campaign Committee, and Regional Advisory Council are working together to reach the $4.9 million goal.  As of December 20th, 2019, we have successfully raised $3,538,541, which is 72% of our goal!

How can you pledge your support?  Simply Donate Now online or call Campaign Director Carrie Arsenault at 207-462-1511 to discuss your possible participation.  All payments on pledges may be paid over a period of five years, making it easier to make your best gift possible.

As soon as the full $4.9 million is reached in cash in and pledges, Johnson Hall will begin construction.  We are looking forward to that day!

Our Professional Team

In addition to the many community volunteers, board members, staff, and generous donors, Johnson Hall is working with a corps of professionals to fulfill the vision for the future, including:

Name Town
John and Charlene Bridge Manchester
Mary Denison Kents Hill/Winthrop
Katie Doherty Brunswick/Augusta
Rick Dosedlo Winthrop
Deb Fahy Hallowell
Susan Farnsworth Hallowell
Kaye Flanagan Manchester
Gay Grant Gardiner
Thom Harnett Gardiner
Chuck Hays Manchester/Augusta
Pat Hopkins Gardiner
Eric Jermyn Gardiner
Mark Johnston Manchester
Harry Lanphear Manchester/Augusta
Alfred Lund Winthrop
Stacey Morrison Gardiner/Augusta
Frank O’Hara Hallowell
Roger Pomerleau Hallowell
Alex Serra Augusta
Andrew Silsby Manchester/Augusta
Dr. Michael Szela Augusta
Mark Walker Hallowell
Tim Walton Augusta

Steering Committee for the Opera House Rehabilitation

Name Organization
Patrick Wright, Chair
Logan Johnston Oaklands Farm
Phyllis Gardiner Attorney General’s Office
Andrew MacLean Maine Medical Association
Carolyn Kimberlin Colby College
Name Organization
Eric Rolfson, Counsel The Rolfson Group
Logan Johnston, Co-Chair Oaklands Farm
Rick Dosedlo, Co-Chairs Premier Marketing
Stacey Morrison, Business Co-Chair Ganneston Construction
Eric Jermyn, Business Co-Chairs Cross Insurance
Phyllis Gardiner, Foundations Chair Attorney General’s Office
Dr. Barbara Crowley MaineGeneral
Dr. Michael Szela Capital Family Practice
Carolyn Kimberlin Colby College
Teresa Zardus Zardus Art of Wellness & Massage
Jean Claveau Camden National Bank
Joe and Kristy Gould Two Gramps Brewing
Steve Marson Central Maine PyroTechnics
Vicki Larrabee Gardiner Federal Credit Union

Come visit us this weekend and
see how the project is coming along!