Delake School

Big tent, big investment, big dreams

The Lincoln City Cultural Center hopes to ignite excitement for its plaza redevelopment project with a concert series in a music-festival atmosphere

The lineup for the Lincoln City Cultural Center’s monthlong concert series calls for five musical acts featuring musicians from six countries playing in a venue twice the usual size. But while the summer celebration is all about the music, it’s also about the future.  

Hosting the series in a 4,150-square-foot tent is a way to ignite interest in the $2.5 million project to elevate the cultural center’s plaza to a traffic-stopping attraction in its own right.

“That’s why it’s called the Plaza Party Tent,” said Niki Price, executive director of the center. “We’re trying to get our patrons and the public to connect what’s happening in the tent with what is going to happen in the next two years with plaza redevelopment. That broken pavement they are sitting on is going to get improved; the potholes on the way in, the entrances that are awkward — those are the things we are going to improve with the plaza plan, and we invite the public to take part.”

Halie Loren will be the first performer when the Lincoln City Cultural Center begins its Plaza Tent Party concert series July 1.

The center decided to go with the 50-by-83-foot tent six months ago when it remained unclear how many people pandemic protocols would permit in the center’s auditorium. It is the biggest tent the grounds could accommodate and still allow for ample parking. Price had considered the tent last year but backed out when logistics seemed unworkable. This year, they tried a different configuration, placing the tent where the acoustics will be the best with a stage that allows for seating on three sides.

It is a big investment for the nonprofit, made possible by grant moneys and donations, including plants from the local nursery and chairs and stage from the Lincoln County School District.

“The chairs were a big problem, so that’s huge,” Price said. A patron who loves live music asked how he could help make more of it happen, she said. “I told him about the tent series, and he’s providing the base artist fees for all the concerts, which is a big donation.”

The idea is to create the atmosphere of a music festival with great sightlines, colorful flags and backdrops, and plants. The Halie Loren Quartet opens the series on July 1, followed July 8 by Son de Cuba, a quintet of musicians from Chile, Mexico, Cuba, and the U.S.; Songs of Wonder, with the Dmitri Matheny Group featuring Holly Pyle for a celebration of Stevie Wonder on July 15; The Gothard Sisters performing Northwest Celtic music on July 22; and Men of Worth, a folk music duo composed of Ireland’s James Keigher and Scotland’s Donnie Macdonald, on July 29.


Lincoln City Cultural Center’s plaza project reaches its goal

The "Invest in Inspiration" campaign will add greenery, accessible paths, and patios around the Delake School, which houses the center.

It must have seemed a curious sight Monday for passers-by in Lincoln City as masked men and women took turns mounting a stepladder on the front lawn of the Lincoln City Cultural Center. They did so to raise the temperature on the fundraising thermometer one red bar at a time, to celebrate the center’s achieving its $250,000 goal in “Invest in Inspiration,” the Cultural Plaza Project.

The effort began 12 months ago with funds coming from private donations and the sale of commemorative bricks. The center also will receive $1.5 million in state lottery funds. The plaza project will feature a pedestrian-friendly area around the historic Delake School, completed in 1929, which houses the center, as well as a path compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, new patios, an outdoor classroom for activities such as raku kiln firing, dedicated spaces for public art installations, gathering places, and new lighting.

The Lincoln City Cultural Center’s “Invest in Inspiration” campaign will turn the yard around the historic Delake School, which houses the center, into a plaza, park, paths, and parking. Photo courtesy: Lincoln City Cultural Center
The Lincoln City Cultural Center’s “Invest in Inspiration” campaign will replace crumbling sidewalks and rusty fencing around the historic Delake School with a plaza, paths, and park area. Photo courtesy: Lincoln City Cultural Center

“In the year since we launched the Invest in Inspiration capital campaign, so much has happened,” said the center’s executive director, Niki Price. “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say it’s been a real roller coaster. From the thrill of the $1.5 million state pledge to the social isolation of the pandemic, we’ve seen it all. What has been most amazing of all has been the constant support from our donors: check by check, brick by brick, we’ve been filling up that thermometer. Our heartfelt thanks to the community, for your continued faith in this great idea.”