What is the mission and vision of the PAI?

The Mission of the Performing Arts Initiative (PAI) is to lead the development of a multi-use facility that will be a destination for outstanding performing arts in the Gorge.

The founders of the PAI have a vision to expand the culture and attractiveness of the Columbia River Gorge beyond its core of outdoor tourism, active sports, hi-tech industry and agriculture. We want to create a platform for developing and presenting larger scale, high-end artistic performances that are on par with other, culturally vibrant communities.
Our vision and goal is the creation of a 600 seat, multi-use performing arts center that will be the home and showcase for a wide range of local and national talent, used year-round. This facility will include classrooms, studio space and the latest in technology to create a safe environment for audiences and performers.

Is the PAI an accredited nonprofit?
The PAI was officially founded in January, 2016. It is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) corporation. Donations to the PAI are tax deductible.
What are some of the goals or design features envisioned for the performing arts center?
  • Building design that is harmonious with the Gorge landscape and environment.
  • Ability to support events with 400-600 typical attendance.
  • Home for a variety of local performing arts organizations, with space rented at an affordable cost.
  • Ability to attract major touring acts as they are travelling the West Coast.
  • Provide a venue that is inclusive of diverse cultures, ethnicities and genres
  • Full theatre capabilities – orchestra pit, fly loft, costume and scenic shops, well-appointed green rooms.
  • Digital media support – state of the art projection, sound and lighting
  • Offices, practice rooms, dance studio, meeting rooms, commons area, event space, concessions, catering kitchen: infrastructure to support the widest possible potential uses.
  • Outdoor plaza, possibly with small amphitheater.
  • Ability to support public events, meetings, small-scale conventions and corporate retreats.
Doesn’t the Gorge already have adequate performing venues?
While there are many school district-owned facilities and small venues in and around the Gorge, none of them meet the criteria for a wide range of events due to scheduling restrictions, size, accessibility, technical limitations or location.
Does the PAI have land on which to build?
The PAI has a letter of intent (LOI) to lease several parcels of land along Westcliff Drive in Hood River. The site will have spectacular views of the Columbia River and is an ideal spot to place an architectural and cultural landmark in the Gorge.
How much will the performing arts center cost, and how will it be funded?
Early estimates of the cost are approximately $25 million, which includes construction and a sizeable endowment that will help support operational costs. In their feasibility study, ECONorthwest suggests that the center will be sustained through event and concession income, an endowment, and city or county support.
How far along is the project?

Since its creation in 2016, the PAI has made steady progress towards its goal. Major milestones have included:

  • Completion of a feasibility study by ECONorthwest.

  • Completion of a series of programmatic studies by Mark VanderZanden and Surround Architecture.

  • A $1 million donation has been made to the building fund and both private and municipal donors have helped fund studies, board development, and legal/technical assistance.

  • The PAI Board has continued to develop and now includes significant members of the arts, business, education and technology communities.

  • PAI has received grant funding from the Hood River Cultural Trust.
  • PAI is currently (February 2021) engaged in sustainability and capital campaign feasibility studies, due for completion by spring 2021.
What are the current goals of the PAI?

The PAI is currently seeking seed funding of approximately $1 million. This money will be used to fund architectural designs, and hire a project manager and complete capital campaign and feasibility studies.

Will the performing arts center compete with other community venues for support, such as the Columbia Center for the Arts, or The Dalles Civic Auditorium project?

The vision of the PAI is both to create a state-of-the-art facility and help turn the Gorge into an epicenter for the performing arts. As such, we envision mutually beneficial partnerships with a wide range of venues and organizations in which programming and events are shared and mutually promoted.

How can I help?

Anyone interested in providing financial support should either contact us or donate directly through our website. For significant financial contributors, a number of naming opportunities exist.