The Tri-Cities and its environs have grown to 260,000 people, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Washington State, yet unlike other urban areas in the state, we have no professional performing arts center. Benefits of a Mid-Columbia Performing Arts Center to our region include:
- Enhancing the quality of life for the Mid-Columbia and advancing the region's identity as a great place to live
- Providing economic development and partnership opportunities for local businesses while expanding our strong economic factors of growth
- Increasing tourism with quality entertainment opportunities
- Ensuring that our resident performing arts companies, now at risk, have a home base
- Offering educational opportunities for performing artists of all ages in outstanding venues.
The Mid-Columbia Region needs a performing arts center that can accommodate both visiting artists and local performing groups. As envisioned, the Center will provide versatile spaces capable of hosting symphonies, Broadway shows, plays, and ballets, as well as more intimate performances such as recitals and experimental theater. The facility could be rented for receptions, corporate meetings, guest speakers, graduations, conferences and public forums. It could also attract festivals and world-class artists to our region, making the Tri-Cities a prime destination for the arts. The Center will enhance our quality of life for decades to come by fostering new and existing community arts organizations in this area.
The lack of suitable performing facilities puts our regional arts programs at risk. It also denies the economic, branding and cultural enrichment benefits associated with these quality arts programs. The Mid-Columbia Performing Arts Center would serve as an anchor for educational, cultural and economic development and be a destination point for the region.
Our region has seen a sharp increase in tourism dollars as a result of new wineries and population growth with a desire for cultural events:
- Visitors to the Tri-Cities spend roughly $350 million annually.
- Arts and culture tourists spend more and stay longer than other travelers.
- More than 160 wineries within a 60-mile radius create the need for more entertainment venues.
- Overnight guests stimulate economic growth by shopping in our stores and dining in our restaurants.
The Mid-Columbia Performing Arts Center would be designed with the technical capabilities to accommodate:
- Music – symphonic, choral, chamber, solo
- Dance – traditional, ballet and contemporary
- Lyric Theatre – musicals, operas, operettas
- Plays – touring groups, regional performances
- Popular, variety entertainment and comedy shows
- Festivals and receptions
- Lobby and stage exhibits
- Speakers and conferences