Port, arts group sign pact for performing arts center’s future home

Arts Center Task Force first must raise enough money to build it within 2 years

The future home of a Tri-City performing arts center will be at Vista Field in Kennewick — if the nonprofit can raise enough money to build it there.

The Port of Kennewick and the Arts Center Task Force signed a letter of intent in March so the arts nonprofit can buy 2.2 acres at the center of Vista Field for $10,000.

The task force has two years to raise the money.

The Arts Center Task Force must show that 75 percent of funding to complete the Vista Arts Center is in hand or committed before the sale can be finalized.

The port has agreed to entertain no other offers for the land for two years.

The 800-seat Vista Arts Center will serve local, regional and smaller touring companies. It will feature a large lobby, art gallery and education space, catering set-up kitchen and beverage service and restrooms. Its footprint must be 30,000 square feet or bigger and include 200 or more parking spaces, according to the letter of intent.

“This is the first private-sector investment identified for Vista Field and puts a mark on the map for this transformational and catalytic investment,” said Tana Bader Inglima, deputy CEO of the Port of Kennewick, in a statement.

The task force has launched a $200,000 fundraising goal to pay for a conceptual design by Seattle-based LMN architects, the start of its capital campaign and operational costs for the organization.

With the exception of one part-time employee, the task force is an all-volunteer 501(c) 3 organization, which formed in 1993.

Previously, the task force responded to a request for proposal from the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities Board, investing in a market study showing the potential of a performing arts center in the region. Though the proposal was not put forward to voters, the need and market for a large-size performing arts center continues to be viable, members said.

“Please understand the Vista Arts Center is not a public project. It will not be asking for a sales tax increase to become a reality. That makes it all the more imperative for the community and businesses to step up and help,” said Kathryn Lang, communications chairwoman of the Arts Center Task Force, in a recent letter to supporters.

Donations to the project may be made at artscentertaskforce.com.

For more information, call 509-619-8546 or find the group on Facebook.

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