Louise Lincoln Kerr is considered one of Scottsdale’s early patrons of the arts by local historians.
Now her former studio, where she hosted intimate concert performances dating back to the late 1940s, may officially land a place in Scottsdale’s Historic Registry.
Last week, the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to initiate a case to the Scottsdale City Council to formally recognize Kerr’s studio, known as the Kerr Cultural Center, by bestowing it with a historic status.
The Kerr Cultural Center is owned by Arizona State University and is still a concert and performing arts venue.
Kerr bequeathed the building and property, which is located off Rose Lane, south of the Borgata shopping center, to the college upon her death in the late 1970s.
The move to honor Kerr’s contribution to Scottsdale’s art scene is a long time coming, said JoAnn Handley, manager of the Scottsdale Historical Society museum.
“It sat on the back burner for a long time,” said Handley, explaining that members of Scottsdale’s planning department first added the Kerr Cultural Center to a list of prospects to be included on the Scottsdale historic registry back in the early 1980s, before the Scottsdale Historic Preservation Commission was in place. The commission first formed in 1999 and is charged with identifying and promoting historical resources.
The news of last week’s Historic Preservation Commission vote came as a surprise to Arizona State University officials.
“This is the first time we are hearing of it. It’s something we are happy to learn more about and get involved with,” said Virgil Renzulli, ASU’s vice president of public affairs, adding the university has not been provided with any details from the commission.
A decision to include the Kerr Cultural Center on the historic registry could be months away, said Don Meserve, a planner with the city’s Historic Preservation Office.
Meserve said the next steps will include conducting public open houses to discuss the proposal, followed by multiple hearings before approaching the Scottsdale City Council.
The City Council has the final say as to whether the Kerr Cultural Center gets accepted into the registry.
If the designation is granted, ultimately it will be ASU’s decision as owner of the building to accept such an honor.
Meserve said the Historic Preservation Commission plans to reach out to ASU before the first hearing is scheduled.