About Paradise Center for the Arts in Faribault
Who We Are
The Paradise Center for the Arts continues to be a vibrant cultural and artistic gathering place in Historic downtown Faribault. We are centrally located in Southern MN, less than an hour from 3 major hubs: St Paul/Minneapolis, Mankato and Rochester. 2017 marks our 10th Anniversary and highlights some of the best artists and musicians in our area and throughout MN and the Midwest. In the fall of 2017, we are expanding our artistic reach by adding dance and literary arts classes.
Create a vivid, energetic, cultural center for the community and region.
Enhance the quality of life for artists, art lovers and our communit by showcasing local, regional and national artists and offering high-quality visual and performing arts opportunities
Our beautifully restored facility is built on the original foundation of the 1885 Faribault Opera House, which was completely destroyed by fire in 1929. After years of operation as a movie theater, and then several years of vacancy and decay, the community rallied to restore this magnificent jewel. The building was extensively renovated in 2006 to include art galleries, classrooms, clay and textile labs, a gift shop and rehearsal spaces, in addition to a 300 seat auditorium. The Paradise Center for the Arts opened to the public in 2007. In 2008, The Paradise Center for the Arts received the MN Preservation Alliance Restoration/Rehabilitation Award.
The Paradise Theater was built upon the foundation of the Grand Opera House in 1929, after the original opera house was destroyed by a fire. Designed by the architectural firm Liebenberg and Kaplan, the Paradise was originally conceptualized as the Granada with a Moorish or Spanish theme.
The Paradise is an example of an “atmospheric” theatre, a Hollywood-inspired genre of architecture. Unlike conventional theatres, atmospherics are rich in fantasy décor, designed to divert the audience away from everyday cares and set the stage for the show to come on stage and screen. The architectural design and decorative scheme in an atmospheric theatre were planned to evoke the illusion that patrons were seated outdoors. This effect was achieved by projecting images of stars and moving clouds onto a painted, seamless ceiling, using a brenograph, which is a special type of projection equipment designed expressly for this purpose. The employment of projected images is the key element in an “atmospheric” theatre. The auditorium appeared to have no roof, and patrons seemed to be sitting outside under a starry summer sky. The notion of a projector with clouds and stars was a very clever and innovative idea in the 1930s, as most other theatres would utilize a pianist or a pit band to entertain the patrons before a film screening or production.
To create the “atmospheric” mood, theatres were modeled after certain romantic themes. Some, like the Paradise, took their inspiration from Spanish Mediterranean villages, while others borrowed from ancient Egypt. The image created for the Paradise was one of a walled Moorish courtyard. Once seated inside of the auditorium of the theatre, the full effect of the courtyard “atmosphere” is achieved. The sides of the theatre, faced with plaster scored to look like masonry, were painted to resemble stone.
The theatre was designed with a traditional proscenium arch, separating the shallow vaudeville stage from the seating area. It also included a small orchestra pit intended for use by the musicians who accompanied the movies of that time. Originally designed to seat 915 people, the theatre was eventually divided in half so that two movies could be screened simultaneously.
The theatre closed in the early 1990s, under pressure for more modern, multiplex theatres that had sprung up in the region. The period of vacancy at the Paradise Theater did not mean that Faribault was void of artistic enterprises, however. The nonprofit Faribault Art Center (FAC) in 1965; Faribault Area Community Theater (FACT) in 1988; and the Paradise Center’s semiprofessional resident theatrical company, The Merlin Players, all became very active players in the regional arts scene.
For over 40 years, the Fairbauilt Art Center (now Paradise Center for the Arts) has been part of the Faribault community. Began in the 1950s by a small group of artists, FAC promoted visual arts to local artists and art lovers through classes, exhibitions, and community involvement projects. FACT also had a strong history of making theatrical performances accessible to community participants as well as patrons. There are currently three community theatre performances a year, held in the Bahl Family Auditorium.
Currently, Faribault Art Center is doing business as Paradise Center for the Arts (PCA). Faribault Area Community Theater dissolved as a nonprofit organization, and is merged into the Paradise. The organizations merged their operations and finances in November of 2006. Paradise Center for the Arts functions under the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation of Faribault Art Center, and retains its nonprofit status: EIN 41-138-1314.
We look forward to the opportunity to share with YOU what Paradise has to offer. Visit our facility and enjoy our many artistic offerings. Contact us to learn more today.
Work with Us
Work at the Paradise
There are currently no open positions.
Who We Are
- Kristen Twitchell: Executive Director
- Julie Fakler: Director of Operations
- Katie Schaumann: Marketing and Guest Services Coordinator
- Jennifer Kluzak: Part-time Box Office
- Vicki Neitge: Part-time Box Office
- Sara Caron: Production Coordinator
- Kim Schaufenbuel, President
- John Sarzoza, Vice President
- Nort Johnson, Treasurer
- Bethany Danner, Secretary
- Tiffany Trip
- Nick Goebel
- Gail Kohl
- Peter Van Sluis
- Len Sorstokke
- Royal Ross, City of Faribault
- Jason Hillesheim
Volunteer at the Paradise
Give your time and be a volunteer!
Help the Paradise Center for the Arts by giving your time. There are many opportunities to volunteer for during the year, whether you just want to commit for a night or the whole year!
For each show or event we are always looking for friendly outgoing people to help usher, open doors, assist will call, attend our concession stand, and greet patrons. These volunteers help us get ready prior, stay and enjoy the show, and tidy up after. For some shows, we also need people who would like to be a stage manager, front of house manager, and sound or light technician.
Once a year, the Paradise Center of the Arts holds the biggest block party in Faribault with the Blue Collar BBQ and Arts Festival. In order to hold this event, we need the help of over 90 dedicated volunteers. Some people volunteer all day, from set up to tear down, and others give a few hours selling tickets, pop, or manning the info booth.
If you want to give more of your time, we are always looking for volunteers to help maintain our facility and keep it looking its best! Our 2 theater companies are also regularly looking for help with set construction and painting.
Internships at the Paradise
Content coming soon.
If you are looking for an exciting educational opportunity with the ability to work in a multidisciplinary visual and performing arts center, please feel free to email your resume and cover letter with subject line INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITY to email@example.com.
Teach at the Paradise
Share your passion and talent for the arts! The Paradise Center for the Arts is looking for teaching artists who are interested in teaching others how to create, and appreciate the visual and performing arts. The Paradise Center for the Arts is seeking instructors for: Textiles, Clay, Photography, Painting, Acting/Theatre, Drawing, Literary arts, Collage, Book making, Sculpture, Music, fused glass, Jewelry, and more. If you are interested in teaching, please contact Julie Fakler for more information, 507-332-7372 ext. 4, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rent the Paradise
The Paradise Theater in Faribault MN has become a magnet for theatrical artists.
The Bahl Foundation is a proud partner, and has been instrumental in providing a high-quality yet intimate space for a wide variety of events including plays, concerts and speaking engagements.
With a maximum seating capacity of 375 patrons - and the ability to add a thrust stage or convert the space to accommodate a dance floor - The Bahl Family Auditorium is truly a space where the arts can flourish.
The Paradise is a unique and creative venue to host an event. We have hosted everything from baby showers to major conferences.
Our 300 seat auditorium is perfect for a business speaking engagement, a wedding, or even a private movie party.
We also have smaller spaces for more intimate gatherings, meetings or parties, plus we have a full kitchen onsite to assist with party planning and catering.
Our cash bar can be opened for your event as well, along with providing other light snacks and beverage services.
Interested in renting the Paradise for your next business event, private party, special event or concert? Contact Kristen Twitchell, executive director, for rates and information: email@example.com
Rental Inquiry Form
Fill out the rental inquiry form below!
The Paradise Center for the Arts continues to be a vibrant cultural and artistic gathering place in Historic downtown Faribault. We are centrally located in Southern MN, less than an hour from 3 major hubs: St Paul/Minneapolis, Mankato and Rochester.
321 Central Ave.
N Faribault, MN 55021
1 hour before performances