a world class center for the arts to enhance the educational, economic and cultural vitality of Southwest Washington – centrally located in the City of Vancouver.

Southwest Washington is the third largest region in Washington and the only area of its size without a concert hall 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 Southwest Washington, of which Vancouver is the major political and cultural part, is over 450,000. A performing arts center will draw a significant portion of that population to each of its performances. 


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, for example, uses Skyview High School auditorium.

There is widespread support for building a center for the arts. 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.

Southwest Washington Center for the Arts represents the culmination of over 30 years of work by the arts and culture community throughout Vancouver and Clark County. The arts not only enhances the quality of our community life but will also invests in our economic vitality. When completed the Center for the Arts will offer significant benefit for the culture, livability and prosperity in our SW region.With a dedicated facility, there is potential to increase the arts contribution nearly 10-fold—as experienced, for example, by Tacoma’s downtown arts and cultural district. Our vision is alive as ever. We are dedicated in whatever way we can to see a high-quality center for the arts, both visual and performing arts, built in Vancouver.





Southwest Washington Center for the Arts was formed in 2003. Val Ogden, its long-time chairperson, effectively led us for 10 years. This organization made serious plans for creating a Center for the Arts based on a feasibility study by Eric Hovee which showed that 75% of our citizens support a performing arts center in the area. Sites considered were WSUV, the Vancouver library site on Mill Plain, Block 10, and a waterfront site. Plans were actively pursued in in 2007-2008 for Block 10 which included architectural renderings. All efforts on this site stopped when the recession hit. The developing Vancouver waterfront in late 2016 inspired us to try again; however, after 18 months of real effort and the work of a highly recognized architectural firm, we had to table that idea as costs and parking needs were challenging.

We were asked to partner with Clark College and build the Center for the Arts there and the city is also discussing another location option, which is a possibility.  All that said, the exciting news is we are full steam ahead in the development of a state of the art, iconic Center for the Arts to fully serve the Southwest Washington Region.





“Building a world-class center for the arts is not only a logical and critical element of Vancouver’s renaissance, but an essential element for sustaining our economic growth and renewal.” 

~Mark Brandon, Executive Vice President, First Independent Bank 

Former Chair, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce


“I envision a performing arts center creating many opportunities for our students to attend performances that we cannot provide in the schools – learning opportunities that will greatly enhance our students’ appreciation of the arts.” 

~John Deeder, Former Superintendent, Evergreen School District


"Our young people would benefit tremendously from a regional center for the visual and performing arts."

~John Erickson, Former Superintendent, Vancouver School District