The Lensic Theater opened in 1931 as a movie and vaudeville house, the vision of local businessman Nathan Salmon. Quickly becoming a center of Sante Fe social life during the Depression Era, it eventually became less able to meet the technical demands of modern performances and changing tastes. In 1999 the theater was in danger of closing permanently, and a plan was hatched to return it to the center of Santa Fe’s cultural life.
Recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an official project of Save America’s Treasures, the restoration was swift, and in 2001 the venue reopened as the Lensic Performing Arts Center (LPAC). Since reopening, the Lensic has presented original performing arts events with the “Lensic Presents” series, featuring dance, theater, film, classical and contemporary music, lectures and more.
Integral to the Lensic’s mission is a dedication to its community and to supporting local nonprofit arts groups and social service organizations; use of the venue has been offered free of charge to over 150 such groups since LPAC’s opening. In keeping with its community-centric directive, the Center also offers three educational programs to area youth: Student Experiences, introducing local students to the performing arts; Future Voices of New Mexico, giving students opportunities to participate in the creation of film, photography and theater; and Technical Theater Internships, offering practical experience to students interested in the inner workings of theatrical production.
Lensic Performing Arts Center Information
- Public Transportation: Good (accessible by several bus lines)
- Handicapped Accessibility: Good
- Performances/Programs: Over 250 events annually
- Ticket Prices: Varies ($10-80) depending on event and seating. Discounts available for students at some events
- Subscriptions/Membership: Memberships are available at a variety of levels. Individual annual membership begins at $50. Benefits include waived service charges, complimentary tickets to events, invitations to special events, attendance at annual on-stage reception, and more.