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Knoxville Opera urgently needs storage space

KNOXVILLE - Knoxville Opera is urgently searching for storage space after receiving notice of the sale of their current facility.

Knoxville Opera was notified at the end of December that the building in which it occupies 11,000 square feet of space on Western Avenue is in the process of being sold, which requires vacating the premises by the end of February.

"We are in a critical bind," said Knoxville Opera Executive and Artistic Director Brian Salesky. "Having to find a new home for our scenery and props in 6 weeks qualifies as an emergency.”

The current space had been generously donated to Knoxville Opera since 2016 by Schaad Companies. The Opera currently does not have money budgeted to rent such space, so it is looking for a new “angel” to donate space for an extended period of time. Very high ceilings are a necessity because many of the props and set pieces are very tall.

"The largest opera set we have is one we purchased several years ago," said Salesky. "It includes a huge amount of platforms and six columns that are 22 to 24 feet high. If necessary, we could store those horizontally and divide up the properties into two or more smaller areas."

"Knoxville Opera uses warehouse storage because sets and props are reused and repurposed every season." said Knoxville Opera Production Manager Don Townsend.

Salesky says, “If we cannot find a new storage facility in time we will have to use our operating reserves to move everything and pay rent, if we can even identify such a space. But this would only be a temporary fix. Without a long-term solution we will be faced with the prospect of destroying these properties which would have a very negative effect on future productions and budgets.”

If you or someone you know would like to donate a storage facility to Knoxville Opera, please contact Don Townsend (865-599-7961, or Brian Salesky (865-643-6600,

Published January 10, 2020

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