New Spire Arts is energizing performing arts in downtown Frederick by revitalizing two downtown Frederick buildings. New Spire Stages, at 15 W Patrick and 15 N Market, will be an arts performance and information focal point for the community, with a theatre, a music and media lounge and family-friendly gathering spaces. New Spire Spaces, at 115 W Church, will be an education and creation hub, with flexible suites designed to serve current and future forms of performing arts including theatre, film, music, dance and multimedia.
New Spire Arts continues the mission of 15 Square Arts Project, a community based initiative to revitalize the former McCrory’s five and dime into a next generation performing arts venue. In addition to the 15sq building, New Spire Arts has expanded its vision to include a multi-use arts facility in the former McGill School at 115 East Church Street.
15 North Market Street opened for business in 1892 as Renner & Kemp, a dry goods store, until 1910 when it became part of the J.G. McCrory & Company chain, expanding in 1929 and connecting to the 15 West Patrick Street location, at which time the store added its popular luncheonette counter. As downtowns all over the country succumbed to malls and big box mania, McCrory’s closed the Frederick store in 1990, and in 1992, McCrory’s filed for bankruptcy. The 15 N Market/15 W Patrick Street property was acquired by the Frederick Arts Council in 1998, and for the next 14 years, the Cultural Arts Center served the arts community with gallery space, a black box theater, event and rehearsal space and offices.
The building at 115 East Church Street was originally built as the Female High School, the first girls' school in Frederick, operational from 1889 to 1922. The building was torn down in 1900 as it was unsanitary and unstable. It was rebuilt that year and reopened in 1901 - this time with indoor toilets. In 1914, the top floor was converted from an attic to an auditorium. The building acted as the administrative headquarters for Frederick County Public Schools from 1940 until 2010, when the FCPS built a new, expanded facility further south on East Street. Renovations are underway to modernize the building, in advance of its reopening as a Performing Arts Education and Creation space.