In 2004 a group of interested citizens incorporated as the Southwest Washington Center for the Arts with the objective of building a performing arts center. In the following years the Board explored various sites and partnerships. A favorable site was found and a partnership with the Fort Vancouver National Trust was offered. At their Annual Meeting in November 2012 the Board decided to put further plans on hold until the Trust could complete its capital campaign to raise funds to purchase and renovate the Academy building. The Board strongly endorsed the effort of the Trust. Once that campaign is successfully completed the Center for the Arts Board will convene and move ahead with their plans.
~~Val Ogden, Chair, January 21, 2013
A CASE FOR THE SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS
Vancouver needs a performing arts center. Vancouver is the fourth largest city in Washington and the only city of its size without an auditorium that is owned by a local jurisdiction or a non- profit organization. In fact, many smaller communities boast of having excellent performing arts centers. The population of Clark County, of which Vancouver is a major political and cultural part, is over 400,000. A performing arts center would draw a significant portion of that population to each of its activities.
Presently there is a very limited supply of venues suitable for performing groups. Performances take place in public school facilities, (which are available for non-school uses on a limited basis) churches, and other “found space”. The Vancouver Symphony uses Skyview HighSchool auditorium.
There is widespread support for building a performing arts center. A survey conducted by AMS, a nationally recognized consultant on the arts, found that community members in Vancouver believe that performing arts center would be a major asset for the community. They also felt that a performing arts center would not be duplicative of present facilities.
Studies have shown a direct economic impact from a vibrant arts scene. A study released in June, 2007, showed arts and culture organizations generated more than $318 million in the three Portland metropolitan counties. In addition they attract tourists from outside the community, thus providing additional business for local restaurants and hotels.
What remains missing from the current facility “mix” in Vancouver is a first-class facility for concerts, theatrical performances, touring shows and public assembly functions. Perhaps the greatest need is a facility that serves as the focal point in the community for special performances and events. This will enable residents to attend events of a high quality without having to cross the river.