Study Confirms Need for Center for the Arts

BEND – Residents of Central Oregon strongly support the creation of the Central Oregon Center for the Arts, a multi-purpose facility proposed by a group of Central Oregon residents, according to the results of a recent study.

The study, commissioned by the board of the Central Oregon Center for the Arts and performed by the Arts Consulting Group, was based on input from an on-line public survey taken by hundreds of Central Oregon residents, on interviews with 30 local stakeholders, and on the findings from three townhalls that gathered input from the arts and business communities and the general public. 

Based on that input, the study found that the facility should consist of a main theater/concert hall of 1,200 to 1,500 seats, an offstage “green room” for waiting performers, a “black-box” open-space for smaller audiences of up to 200 seats, rehearsal and instrument-storage spaces, space to support arts education, community areas, and adequate and accessible parking. The study, conducted over a seven-month period, also found that space for the visual arts could be an important component of such a facility. 

Consistent themes in stakeholder interviews were that a new facility should provide opportunities that do not exist with current venues and that the center should be for everyone in Central Oregon and that it should be accessible to all kinds of people. 

The themes of three town halls included the following: The need for COCA to be affordable for local organizations; the need for a facility with a stage, an orchestra pit, dressing rooms, and more; the need for an iconic space that embodies the character and environment of Central Oregon.

The online public survey found a strong appetite for plays, both dramatic and comedic; classical music; Broadway musicals; festivals; dance productions and more. It also identified a desire for a beautiful venue with spaces of different sizes for events of all types and sizes. 

“We are thrilled to see the completion of this important study. Next steps for COCA identified by ACG are under way,” Laura Thompson, COCA board chair said. “They include enhanced communications and fundraising programs/efforts, investing in organizational and grant-writing assistance, a refreshed and enhanced online presence, board development, and more. This is a long-term project, but we are going to get it done,” she said.

For additional information, please contact Jon Thompson, COCA communications chair, (818) 207-1026, or jon@cocarts.org.

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