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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Jaron Utt performs during the soft opening at Arts Avenue in Chattanooga on Thursday, June 24, 2021.

Scenic City Dance studio owner Stacey Perkinson has always wanted be downtown and to have a multi-use space for all arts, and after moving from Lee Highway to Rossville Avenue she is closer to that goal today.

The new space has 14,000 square feet, and in addition to the dance studio, there is Arts Avenue, a 4,000-square-foot performance venue being operated by Bryan Shannon.

"I think my main goal is that the space could be a lot of things in the future," Perkinson said. "I'd like to have an event called 'Artober' for example, and create a month of arts and dance and music."

The first concert at Arts Avenue is set for July 3, when Paul Childers will perform a show honoring the late guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. Future shows will include Kevn Kinney on July 8, Roger Alan Wade on July 9, Mitch Rossell on July 16 and Chris Knight on July 17.

Shannon, who was the brand director at Songbirds Guitar Museum, said he is working with Mike Dougher, who booked shows at Songbirds, on booking acts for the venue.

"I wouldn't be doing this without Mike," Shannon said. "Outside of making sure we have a great sound system, he was the No. 1 priority. I want this to be the best sounding room of its size in town, and I want it to be a place where people want to play."

Dougher has 30 years of experience booking acts at the old Sandbar and Rhythm & Brews venues before taking over those duties at Songbirds North and South, before they closed during the pandemic.

Photo Gallery

Soft opening at Arts Avenue in Chattanooga

Shannon said opening the venue with Childers was also on his priority list.

"Paul Childers was one of my favorite shows at Songbirds and it means a lot to me to have him back and play in Chattanooga.

Shannon said the venue seats 320 people and he said the majority of the shows will be seated.

"I would say probably nine out of 10 shows will be seated with the type of acts being a lot of Americana and folk, but we will still have the rocker types. That will never go away and I don't want it to.

"It will also be a place for local artists and we want it to be a place that cultivates an audience for local talent, so that the acts can get their performance reps in."

The space features 20-foot ceilings and can be rented for special events like weddings and corporate parties and gatherings.

Perkinson said it can also be used for dance performances. Dance classes will be held in the larger 10,000-square-space next door.

"The two spaces are separated and in fact, Arts Avenue has its own entrance off of 17th Street instead of Rossville Avenue."

She said the location is very important to her and her vision.

"I always wanted to be downtown because of the energy and the arts scene, and we always wanted to have an actual events space."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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