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A peek inside the Confluence Arts Center

| Jesse Yang, Judy Berthiaume

Anxious to see the inside of the new $45 million Confluence Arts Center currently under construction in downtown Eau Claire?

You are not the only one!

Jason Jon Anderson, acting executive director of the arts center, recently gave us a tour of the state-of-the-art facility, which is set to open late in the summer.

Here is a peek at what we saw walking through the building.

The new arts center will provide much-needed rehearsal, teaching and support space for UW-Eau Claire’s theater program and a significantly larger performance venue for its nationally renowned music program. The arts center also will host concerts, performances and Broadway-style touring shows that no current campus or community venue can support.

Here are a few tidbits about the building that Anderson shared during the recent tour:

  • The new building spans 155,000 square feet, which is about 20,000 square feet smaller than Davies Center on UW-Eau Claire’s campus.
  • Visit Eau Claire offices will occupy part of the building’s first floor. The space will include accordion-style garage doors that can open facing Gibson Street during the warmer months.
  • The Royal Credit Union Theater will include seats for 1,266 guests. The theater’s walls are 93 feet tall and its stage is three times the size of the stage in Eau Claire’s historic State Theatre.
  • The center’s smaller 400-seat Jamf Theater will have portable, folding theatrical chairs that can be set up in multiple rows for performances or removed for receptions.
  • The building’s exterior will feature crinkled copper, which is manufactured in St. Paul at the only crinkled copper production facility in the United States.
  • The exterior also will include black granite provided by the company Kowalski Granite and Quartz, a Michigan-based business. The owners, the Kowalski family, live in Mosinee. The company mines mostly red granite, Wisconsin’s official stone.

The arts center is at the heart of the Confluence Project, a public-private development in a once-blighted area of downtown Eau Claire.

Located about a mile from UW-Eau Claire at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, the Confluence Project includes Haymarket Landing, a first-floor retail and commercial space and a five-story apartment complex that houses about 375 UW-Eau Claire students; the Confluence Arts Center, a shared university-community arts facility; and a public plaza and pedestrian-bicycle pathway along the rivers.