Arts and Economic Prosperity

Chehalem Cultural Center expansion makes A-list

The Newberg center's planned performing arts wing wins the support of an influential statewide arts lobbying group

The Chehalem Cultural Center is feeling some wind beneath its planned $5 million Performing Arts Wing. Last week, the Oregon Cultural Advocacy Coalition included the expansion on its list of $9.5 million in capital construction projects it will encourage Gov. Kate Brown and state lawmakers to support when the Legislature convenes next year.

The Chehalem center’s effort was one of 11 projects the nonprofit advocacy group named as compelling candidates for support in the 2021-23 state budget. The coalition will lobby for the Newberg center’s project to the tune of $1.25 million. If approved, construction would likely be completed by the spring of 2023.

To say that the center’s staff is excited is an understatement. Upon learning the news, they announced it on Instagram: “We are thrilled, honored, overjoyed, grateful … and more!”

They have good reason. Since 2013, the coalition has successfully lobbied for more than $13 million in state funds (derived from lottery-backed bonds) that have supported capital projects around Oregon, from heavyweights like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Portland Art Museum to smaller projects, such as the Liberty Theatre in La Grande and the Lincoln City Cultural Center.

A rendering by Scott|Edwards Architecture shows the future LaJoie Theatre in the Performing Arts wing of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg. This view is looking north at the facility, which will be on the second floor. Photo courtesy: Chehalem Cultural Center
A rendering by Scott|Edwards Architecture shows the future LaJoie Theatre in the Performing Arts Wing of the Chehalem Cultural Center in Newberg. This view is looking north at the theater, which will be on the second floor. Courtesy: Chehalem Cultural Center

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