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Goodbye INB Performing Arts Center, hello First Interstate Center for the Arts

The "new" building is currently undergoing renovations but is scheduled to open on time this fall

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Kevin Twohig, project manager on the renovation of the new First Interstate Center for the Arts (formerly the INB Performing Arts Center), looks on as workers convert the former rehearsal space for the symphony into a new bar and food area. - DAN NAILEN PHOTO
  • Dan Nailen photo
  • Kevin Twohig, project manager on the renovation of the new First Interstate Center for the Arts (formerly the INB Performing Arts Center), looks on as workers convert the former rehearsal space for the symphony into a new bar and food area.

You've known the place as the Spokane Opera House and most recently as the INB Performing Arts Center. But when it reopens in November for a new season of plays, films and concerts, you'll be visiting the First Interstate Center for the Arts.

Let's just go ahead and start calling it "the FIC" now, OK? It's much easier.

The building is currently undergoing a six-month, $23 million renovation, which means replacing the entire electrical system, adding a backstage elevator and revamping the lobby, including the new addition of a dramatic art piece, Opening Act, by Bill and Karma Simmons.

While the "new" building will open to the public with a celebration on Nov. 5, according to project manager Kevin Twohig, the name change comes largely because Northwest Bank Corp. (aka INB) was recently purchased by First Interstate Bank. Hence, the new name.

First Interstate Director of Banking Bill Gottwals was in Spokane Wednesday to announce the name change and explain that his company shares INB's dedication to community, calling support of things like the performing arts "at the core of our DNA."

Twohig led a tour of some of the revamped spaces and says he is confident the project is on schedule to be ready for its first event, Best of Broadway's production of Finding Neverland, opening Nov. 15. Visitors will find new seats in the auditorium and hear the show through a new sound system, but for the most part it will look the same as before, Twohig says.

The new art installation Opening Act hangs from the lobby ceiling. - DAN NAILEN PHOTO
  • Dan Nailen photo
  • The new art installation Opening Act hangs from the lobby ceiling.