Our Recent History
Merging of Interests
Steps in the Alliance
The history of Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, originates with the discovery of mutual interests between CAST and Columbia Art Gallery, and a resulting renovation effort.
In January 2003, CAST and the Columbia Art Gallery announced that they both were in search of new locations. With both of these organizations facing a similar situation, they began working on a solution together.
In February 2003, that solution arose. The American Legion Hall, a 10,000 square foot building located in the heart of historic downtown Hood River, was put up for sale. Because the two groups did not have the funds necessary to buy the building immediately, a small group of local art supporters stepped forward and offered to purchase the building and hold it until the groups could raise the funds needed to purchase and renovate it to suit their needs.
In order to turn this idea into reality, a separate 501(c)(3) called Columbia Arts was formed in order to represent the collaborating partners and to work to raise the necessary funds.
Shortly after Columbia Arts was formed, discussions with Gorge Arts, the regional arts council began. Because most of the successful arts councils around Oregon operate a facility in conjunction with their councils, both Gorge Arts and Columbia Arts saw this building project as an excellent opportunity to strengthen the efforts of both groups.
This project began in late 2002 when CAST and the Columbia Art Gallery began searching for a new home. The project goal was to purchase and renovate the building in approximately two and a half years.
We would like to thank the community that made the renovation possible, not only for us to purchase the old American Legion building, but to help us renovate it into a state of the art facility.
Our ovarall goal was to create a cultural destination place in Hood River, with showcase facilities to enable the arts to thrive in the Gorge. An additional goal was to draw a variety of artists and art groups that will not only enhance and improve the arts, but which will also help boost the region’s economy as well as improve our overall quality of life.
The gallery's first show was in February of 2006, and the theater's first performance was in June. The first show for CAST was in July/August. Since then, art shows and theatrical performances occur on a regular basis. An events calendar is updated monthly.
In addition to the gallery and theatre space, Columbia Arts has multi-purpose rooms which will be utilized by smaller art groups, individual artists, and the community as well as the schools for educational art-related activities.
Related News Stories
For more information about the history of the Center and it's grand opening in June, 2006, click on this Hood River News article.