Known for more than 40 years as a performing and visual arts venue on the campus of St. Charles East High School, The Norris Cultural Arts Center is now presenting events at another familiar location: The Baker Community Center, located in downtown St. Charles.
Over the next several months, Baker Community Center hosts the new Wednesdays @ One and Saturday Night Lights event series. Wednesday afternoon events combine live and multimedia content. Saturday-evening shows welcome live bands and solo performers.
Shows take place in the Baker Center’s Collins Auditorium with round tables seating four to six people, and evening show tickets include two drinks at the bar. Most performances draw about 50 to 75 people, which also keeps the atmosphere cozy.
The events are a collaboration between Norris Center and the St. Charles Park District, which operates the Baker Community Center. The two have been working together since at least 2018. Norris Cultural Arts Center donated and installed new lighting and sound equipment in late 2019, holding just two cabaret events before COVID shut things down. The Baker’s Dozen holiday festival started in late 2020 as a remote-only event and returned again last year. With restrictions still limiting events inside the high school auditorium, Norris’s newest lineup gives audiences a reason to return.
“It’s been really gratifying to us to have audience members coming in saying, ‘I’ve driven by here a thousand times and I’ve never come in. This is the greatest venue and you’re doing a good job of putting on concerts,’” says Mark Smith, vice president of the Norris Center board. “It really validates our ideas.”
Visit norrisculturalarts.com to order tickets, which are free on Wednesday and cost $25 or $30 on Saturday. The Baker Community Center is also available for wedding receptions and social gatherings; reservations can be made by calling (630) 584-1055.
Baker Community Center is located at 101 S. Second St., St. Charles. Contact Norris Cultural Arts Center at (630) 584-7200, norrisculturalarts.com.