Mission & History

MISSION STATEMENT:

The Community Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA) is a nonprofit (501c3) arts organization dedicated to:

  • Preserving and operating the historic Woodmen of the World (WOW) Hall as a multipurpose community center.
  • Providing cultural arts and educational opportunities for all ages and income levels.
  • Maintaining a supportive environment for local artists and their new creative efforts.

The CCPA federal tax I.D. number is 51-0191790.

HISTORY OF W.O.W. HALL

The corner of 8th and Lincoln has been a community gathering place since the days of city founder Eugene Skinner.  The first building erected on the site was a small church; it was replaced in 1883 by a First Presbyterian Church building that was considered one Eugene’s finest public structures.  

In 1880 the Woodmen of the World fraternal organization was formed in Omaha, Nebraska, and soon swept the western states.  The Eugene chapter provided health benefits, life insurance and burial costs while undertaking charitable and recreational activities for children and adults.  Women participated through a sister organization, the Women of Woodcraft.

  • When Joseph Cullen Root founded Woodmen of The World , he envisioned an organization dedicated to helping its fellow man . Its purpose was "to minister to the afflicted to relieve distress; to cast a sheltering arm about the defenseless living ;... to encourage broad charitable views..."

 

ORIGIN OF THE CCPA

In 1975 it was learned that the Hall would soon be sold and possibly demolished.  To keep the building available to the community, a group of concerned users, performers, neighbors and historical preservation enthusiasts organized the Community Center for the Performing Arts, a nonprofit (501c3) corporation.  

On December 2, 1975, the leaseholder gave notice that he intended to exercise his option to sell the Hall.  He informed 130 people who attended a basement meeting that he would give the community first option to buy the Hall at $75,000 but would need a $10,000 down payment within 13 days.  To raise the money, supporters organized a WOWATHON: five days and nights of continuous entertainment!  The WOWATHON began on Dec. 10 and, with support from the Oregon Country Fair, the Hoedads, KLCC, KZEL and many others, the money was raised!  Throughout its early years the CCPA faced one crisis after another.  Time and again, community support would save the W.O.W. Hall.  Volunteerism, a few grants, increasing attendance and severe austerity enabled the CCPA to pay off the Hall’s mortgage in 1983, completing the dream of making the facility, "community-owned and democratically operated."

In 1996 the W.O.W. Hall was officially designated a historic landmark by the National Register of Historic Places.  "No building has stronger connections to Eugene’s yeasty culture," noted the Register-Guard.

In 2005 the CCPA kicked off its first major Capital Improvements Campaign, dubbed MORE WOW NOW.  The campaign’s first goal was to buy the vacant property behind the building.  The back lot was purchased from the City of Eugene in 2006 for a total cost of $55,000.   

Since then several projects have been completed to improve the Hall and reduce our sound impact on the neighborhood, including installation of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, added insulation of the attic, and refurbished windows.  

In 2011 the CCPA submitted a Neighborhood Matching Grant to the City of Eugene.  The West 8th Collaborative project was awarded a $13,241 grant to help improve lighting, landscaping and locks in a one block area in our neighborhood. This grant will include additional safety lighting, bike racks, an iron fence around the alley tree, and hanging flower baskets.

 The Oregon Cultural Trust features the CCPA's historic preservation efforts in their Field Notes.  You can read it here: http://www.culturaltrust.org/featured-grant/wow-hall-community-center-performing-arts?utm_source=Trust+Field+Notes+v2+May+2014&utm_campaign=Field+Notes+v2+May+13+2014&utm_medium=email

TODAY

The CCPA is dedicated to providing a safe and friendly meeting place for the community, a place for appreciation of the arts for all ages and income levels, and a training ground for new generations.  Local, regional, national and international acts frequently grace the stage, and the Hall prides itself on the diversity.  Many artists have released works recorded at the W.O.W. Hall.

The Hall is also used for classes, workshops, lectures, meetings, rehearsals and recording sessions.  The Lobby Art Gallery displays the work of a different regional artist each month. 

The CCPA runs on volunteer energy and volunteer training is provided monthly.  Volunteers develop job skills while demonstrating dependability, punctuality and the ability to work as part of a team.  The CCPA has involved thousands of volunteers, more than half of them area teenagers.

A volunteer Board of Directors meets monthly and oversees the overall operation of the Hall.  

The CCPA is committed to providing arts for all ages.  In a community that lacks recreational opportunities for youth, the CCPA not only provides a space for young adults, teenagers and kids to enjoy live concerts, it actively involves youth in planning, promoting, performing at and staffing shows.

 

SAVE THE TREES 

In 2011 the CCPA took action to save the big trees on Lincoln Street.  Faced with the removal of two of the giant big leaf maples that live next to the W.O.W. Hall, the CCPA commissioned an independent assessment by Damon Schrosk of Treecology, Inc. of Colton, Oregon.  His report made recommendations for pruning for weight reduction to eliminate safety concerns, stating that with the remedial measures recommended both trees could be safely managed for another 7-12 years.  The CCPA agreed to provide funding for annual monitoring and maintenance by an ISA Certified Arborist.  

 

YOU CAN HELP!

The CCPA is largely self-funded.  In fiscal year 2014-15, the CCPA had a total income of $580,935.  $525,348 was in earned income (ticket sales, rentals, concessions, poster service & newsletter advertising), with the bulk of the ticket income going to the performers.  We had $55,587 in contributed income, including $16,000 in grants and $29,637 from memberships. 

To expand our artistic and educational programming, meet the rising cost of building maintenance and preservation, and make improvements, we need your help.  Dues paying members are an essential part of the organization, both as a major source of support for the W.O.W. Hall’s activities and to maintain its commitment to democratic, community control.  CCPA members elect and may serve on the Board of Directors and standing committees and can receive the monthly newsletter, WOW Hall Notes, either by mail or email.

Each December the CCPA hosts its famous Membership Party.  This event features entertainment by a variety of artists and delicious food and beverages donated by local businesses (85 in 2015).  The Membership Party is free for members and is the organization’s way of saying, “thanks for your support!”

To become a member, write a check to the Community Center for the Performing Arts and send it to:

WOW Hall

291 W 8th Ave

Eugene OR 87491

or call the office at 687-2746.

All donations are tax deductible and quality the giver to make a matching grant to the Oregon Cultural Trust that is a state income tax credit (limits apply).