Plan Announced for Central Oregon Center for the Arts


(Photos | Courtesy of Central Oregon Center for the Arts)

A plan to build the Central Oregon Center for the Arts, a regional visual- and performing-arts center, was announced today in Bend by the Central Oregon Center for the Arts Executive Board.

Initial plans for this comprehensive arts center include the following:

  • A theater large enough to accommodate touring Broadway shows and more
  • A smaller, more intimate indoor theater
  • A multipurpose “black-box” performance/display space
  • Classrooms, shops, rehearsal and storage spaces
  • Teaching, work and gallery spaces for the visual arts
  • Space for educational and diversity outreach programs

“The path to a completed Central Oregon Center for the Arts may be complicated,” COCA Board President Laura Thompson said. “Nevertheless, we have composed a plan culminating in a new facility that could open as soon as 2026,” she added.

The projected cost for COCA could be up to $100 million or more, Thompson said. Current plans call for COCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, to be financed by grants, donations and a capital campaign.

An in-depth feasibility study will be conducted this year. The study will assist the COCA board as it makes decisions about the location, form and size of the proposed facility and what cooperation with existing venues and organizations might be possible. Fundraising to pay for that study is under way.

The board supporting COCA is composed of a coalition of business and professional people, educators, musicians and patrons of the arts who see the need for a comprehensive and flexible arts facility in Central Oregon.

“This project is a project for all the residents of Central Oregon. It will be a comfortable and welcoming campus for artists of all disciplines and for those who appreciate and patronize the arts. It will create jobs and contribute to the area’s cultural life and financial well-being,” Thompson said.

“Its programs will be welcoming, accessible and inclusive, and will greatly enhance cultural and artistic life here. But building it won’t be easy. We will need the help and patience of everyone as we all, together, as friends, colleagues, neighbors and residents of Central Oregon, work to make this happen,” Thompson added.



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