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  • Confluence Arts Center Receives Financial Support from UWEC Student Office of Sustainability

    (Eau Claire, WI) – The Confluence Arts Center is proud to announce the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Student Office of Sustainability will provide financial support for LED lighting throughout the entire Confluence structure. On October 16, 2017, a resolution through the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire was passed approving the Student Senate to allocate $71,540 from their Green Fund to provide financial support to the Confluence Arts Center. This funding supports the Student Office of Sustainability’s mission to provide educational opportunities through their Green Fund.

    On November 8, 2017, acting executive director Jason Jon Anderson led the Student Senate on an exclusive tour of the building. With them they brought a check to present to the Confluence Arts Center (pictured above). “The Confluence Arts Center has incorporated numerous sustainability features into its construction.  With theatrical lighting still being one of the largest power burdens on any performance/event space, this commitment ensures that even our shows will be energy conscious.  This generous gift from the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate through the Student Office of Sustainability will ensure our commitment to sustainable performance practices already in-use in Schofield Auditorium and the W.R. Davies Student Center.”

    The resolution states the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will be able to provide their students with more opportunities to live, work and spend time in the downtown are through the opening of the Confluence Arts Center.

  • Hospitality Manager Added to the Confluence Arts Center Team

    Eau Claire, WI (October 30, 2017) -The Confluence Arts Center has hired a Hospitality Manager to manage special event sales, front of house management as well as hospitality and food and beverage coordination.

    On October 23, 2017, Amy O’Connor (pictured above) joined the Confluence Arts Center team as Hospitality Manager. A graduate of University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire in Organizational Communication, she most recently served as Front of House Manager at The Informalist. She happily relocated home after 6 years in the Twin Cities last fall, to be a part of building systems and teams at the downtown farm to table restaurant. Outside of restaurant management, Amy has a wide range of experience in finance, philanthropy, event planning and music. “Eau Claire is such a special place. I am grateful to be a part of this powerhouse team dedicated to the arts and the continued reenergizing of downtown.”

    Jason Jon Anderson, Acting Executive Director, said, “I believe Kevin made a great choice in hiring Amy as she is a very talented staff member who brings great experience to the areas of audience and artist hospitality.  As the Hospitality Manager she is focused on ensuring that audiences and artists alike each have a positive and memorable experience at the Confluence. I know she will ensure a successful operation that exceeds the budget projections and guest expectations.”

    The Confluence Arts Center will offer the community a facility capable of providing transformative training, learning and creative opportunities. Operations are in support of a mission that is focused on augmenting and developing regional education opportunities in the performing and visual arts for people of all ages and backgrounds. The facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.

  • Confluence Arts Center Press Release

    October 25, 2017

    Confluence Arts Center Executive Director Kevin Miller Resigns

    The Confluence Council, which oversees operations of the Confluence Arts Center, on Monday, October 23, accepted the resignation of Kevin Miller, the art center’s executive director, effective immediately.

    Jason Jon Anderson, assistant director of conferences and event services for University Centers at UW-Eau Claire, now will serve as acting executive director of the Confluence Arts Center.

    At UW-Eau Claire, Anderson oversees event services in all University Centers venues, as well as in other performance venues on and off campus. He also is responsible for the development and administration of conferences, camps, campus-wide special events, festivals and other large events held on and off campus. In addition, he is the production director for the Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, and production manager for the band Bon Iver.

    The Confluence Council will begin a new search as soon as possible for a permanent executive director.

  • Confluence Arts Center Announces Growing Team with Two New Hires

    Eau Claire, WI (October 13, 2017) – The Confluence Arts Center has added to its team by two. Sadie Hamill and Elaine Coughlin, both of Eau Claire, join Executive Director Kevin Miller in temporary office space in downtown Eau Claire while construction continues. With the opening next year, this growing team will have plenty to plan for and more roles to fill.

    Sadie Hamill will serve as the Confluence Arts Center’s Executive Administrator. Hamill, who has a degree in Arts Management, worked fo
    r the City of Eau Claire from 2005-2017. Prior to her tenure with the City, Hamill was employed by the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, serving in marketing and bookkeeping capacities. Hamill, a visual artist, has been a member of the Janet Carson Gallery’s Visual Arts Committee for several years. “Having worked in downtown Eau Claire nearly the entirety of my professional career, it has been astounding to witness the resurgence of the downtown. I am tremendously excited to be a part of the Confluence Arts Center’s role in shaping Eau Claire.”

    Elaine Coughlin, a native of Eau Claire, will serve as the Marketing Coordinator for the Confluence Arts Center. Coughlin, who has an Associate’s degree in Marketing from the Chippewa Valley Technical college and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, previously worked as a Business Assistance Specialist for the City of Eau Claire and Downtown Eau Claire, Inc. from 2014-2016. She most recently worked as Marketing Director for the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center. “Working with the creative economy in Eau Claire over the past few years has been so rewarding and I can’t wait to bring my passion for this city and the arts to the Confluence Arts Center.”

    Miller, who was hired this past July by the Confluence Council, Inc., says, “I’m excited to see all of the local professional talent in the Chippewa Valley. We’re confident this is building a strong team for the success of the Confluence Arts Center.”

    The Confluence Arts Center will offer the community a facility capable of providing transformative training, learning and creative opportunities. Operations are in support of a mission that is focused on augmenting and developing regional education opportunities in the performing and visual arts for people of all ages and backgrounds. The facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.

  • Confluence Arts Center and Blugold Radio partner for unique patio concert at Haymarket Landing

    The Confluence Arts Center, in collaboration with Blugold Radio 99.9 FM, announces a special outdoor concert at Haymarket Landing overlooking the building site of the new Arts Center on Friday, August 25th at 7 pm. The concert will feature Eau Claire Bands Dames, Idle Empress and Heart Pills.

    The free concert is being held to showcase the focus on local arts and music which the Confluence Arts Center will bring to the community and the music played daily on Blugold Radio. Both organizations realize the need for a strong commitment to the music community.

    Kevin Miller, Executive Director of the Confluence Arts Center says, “The Confluence is thrilled to partner with Blugold radio as we showcase a vital tent pole of the Eau Claire art scene — local music.”

    “Eau Claire’s artists, performers, writers, and students all will have an exciting new home come September 2018 – – that home is the Confluence.” Miller continues, “There has been a great deal of planning, progress, construction, and excitement for the future. But it’s time we get back to basics and showcase what Eau Claire and the Confluence is all about — great local artists in a great local venue celebrating together.”

    Blugold Radio Station Manager Scott Morfitt echoes Miller saying, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with the Confluence Arts Center on this special patio concert. With all the current national attention being paid to this scene, we are working very hard to create more opportunities and spaces to celebrate the depth of great talent we have here.”

    This concert will be free and open to the public. However, due to a 250 person capacity, attendees will need to make a reservation through Blugold Radio on their website A ticket link will be in the banner at the top of the page. Tickets will be available on Thursday, August 10th.

  • Council announces new Confluence Arts Center executive director

    June 29, 2017

    A 10-year leader in the Fond du Lac arts community who also is a UW-Eau Claire alumnus has been named the first executive director of the Confluence Arts Center in Eau Claire.

    Kevin Miller, who has been the executive director of the Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac since 2007 and led that organization through a facility renovation and expansion in 2012-13, was selected by the Confluence Council Inc. following a national search. He will start his new position July 17.

    “Kevin Miller brings a demonstrated track record for strong relationship building and fundraising, along with local roots and statewide connections, to the position,” said Vicki Hoehn, Confluence Council board president. “He has a strong working knowledge of the industry and a vision for artistic excellence, job creation and educational opportunities.”

    As Confluence Arts Center executive director, Miller will provide leadership, create vision, foster an environment for learning, and carry out strategic planning and programing. He will manage the administrative staff, lead fundraising efforts, establish relationships within the local and regional communities, and ensure the highest levels of excellence in the delivery of outstanding audience and artist experience.

    “As a UW-Eau Claire theatre alumnus, it’s gratifying to see how the arts are truly inspiring the entire community,” Miller said. “I look forward to working with all of the wonderfully creative folks of Eau Claire as we take the next steps forward together for the Confluence, for the arts, for Eau Claire.”

    While serving as executive director of THELMA, as the Fond du Lac arts center is called, Miller oversaw the facility’s extensive renovation and expansion from its origins as an abandoned Masonic temple. Under his 10 years of leadership, THELMA raised more than $12 million, including $8 million donated during a successful capital campaign to support the renovation and expansion project.

    Miller booked, negotiated and managed more than 1,000 musical concerts and theatre performances at THELMA, ranging from local to nationally prominent acts. He also created partnerships between THELMA and numerous local organizations, and he created the Greater Fond du Lac Arts and Entertainment District, which led to more than $90 million in new projects in downtown Fond du Lac.

    Miller studied theatre at UW-Eau Claire and also received a master of fine arts degree in 1992 from UW-Milwaukee.

  • The State of the Confluence

    May 19, 2017


    Ben Richgruber, Executive Director
    Eau Claire Regional Arts Council
    316 Eau Claire St.
    Eau Claire, WI 54701

    Please join us for a State of the Confluence update on Thursday, May 25 at 5:30 pm at the construction site of the Confluence Arts Center. Hear from supporters, local officials and get the latest updates as we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the start of this project.



    Gifts and pledges are being accepted here!

    Gifts and pledges are being accepted by both the Eau Claire Community Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. For details on how and where to give go to or contact Susan Bornick, executive director of the Community Foundation at 715-552-3801, or Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation at 715-836-5180.
  • Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, Inc. to Merge with Confluence Council, Inc.

    The Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, the organization that owns and operates the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire, will merge with the Confluence Council, the entity that will operate the Confluence Arts Center. A letter of intent has been signed by both Boards of Directors, and the merger will take place before the opening of the Confluence Arts Center in fall of 2018.

    “We have thirty years of experience and institutional knowledge to bring to the Confluence,” says Pam Rasmussen, President of the ECRAC Board of Directors. “Our relationships with donors and ticket buyers will go a long way to ensure that the Confluence Arts Center can be successful from day one.”

    Vicki Hoehn, President of the Confluence Council Board of Directors echoes that sentiment. “ECRAC has been doing this work for a long time, and it only makes sense to bring both organizations together as we move forward and work to grow the arts community.”

    The partnership is already coming together. Starting in January, ECRAC has passed ten percent of all membership dues directly to the Confluence Council’s operating fund. A portion of proceeds from this June’s annual “Jubilee” fundraiser will also go to the Confluence.

    Formed in 1983, the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council has operated the State Theatre since its renovation into a performing arts center. ECRAC board and staff members have been actively involved in the promotion, planning and design of the Confluence Arts Center.

    Formed in 2014, The Confluence Council has representation from all stakeholders in the Confluence Arts Center including UW-Eau Claire, the local arts community, The City of Eau Claire, and Visit Eau Claire. The Confluence Council will oversee the scheduling, programming, and overall operations of the Confluence Arts Center.

  • Take a Walk Through the Haymarket Plaza

  • Haymarket Plaza Concept Plans Unveiled

    City Council revealed initial plans for the Haymarket Plaza in mid-February of 2017. This is the first step to finalizing plans for the plaza with a public open house to discuss plans further on Thursday, February 23 from 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Royal Credit Union’s headquarters (200 Riverfront Terrace) in Eau Claire.
    Haymarket Plaza - 2
    Haymarket Plaza - 3
    Haymarket Plaza - 4

  • Ashley Furniture Donates $25,000 to Confluence Arts Center

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    On Monday, February 20, 2017, Ashley Furniture presented a check for $25,000 to the Confluence Arts Center showing their support for this region’s arts education. For the full story and to see concept designs for Haymarket Plaza, head to WQOW – TV 18’s website below.

    Ashley Furniture Makes $25,000 Donation to Confluence Arts Center

    Be a part of this amazing project and support the arts community by pledging your own support right here!

  • Ceremonial start of the Confluence Arts Center construction delights supporters

    Article from Leader-Telegram Picture by Leader-Telgram Staff Marisa Wojcik


    Dan Clumpner and Dan Market spent the hours before Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Confluence Arts Center pondering submitted bids and building designs for the project.
    That work was symbolic of the seemingly never-ending effort arts center backers have poured into the project that began five years ago as discussions between Clumpner, Market and UW-Eau Claire representatives. On Thursday evening, under cloudy skies that threatened rain, the long, winding, difficult effort to make the arts center a reality came to fruition in the form of a celebration of the $45 million project at the merger of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers.

    “It felt surreal,” Clumpner, principal for Commonweal Development Corp, said a short time after some of the people associated with the project took part in a ceremonial digging of earth at the construction site with golden shovels. “It took us so much to get to this point. It seemed so many times like this would never happen. Now here we are, about to begin construction, and it’s hard for me to believe it’s really happening.”

    Market expressed a similar sentiment. The chairman of Market & Johnson — which partnered with Commonweal and Blugold Real Estate Foundation, a supporting entity of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, to develop the arts center and the adjacent $36 million Haymarket Landing building — said the road to starting construction on the arts center later this month has been full of twists and turns. Haymarket Landing opened in August.
    “It’s like, ‘My God, it really is happening,’ ” Market, smiling slightly, said as event attendees shook hands, hugged and laughed in the minutes after the groundbreaking ceremony ended.
    Work on the arts center should begin by the end of this month, Market said. Bids were received three weeks ago, and Market acknowledged some of those prices were higher than hoped for.
    Other bids were incomplete, he said, and alternate bids are still being finalized as building design plans proceed.
    “Some of the ideas we’re talking about are about cost savings, and some are just better ideas for this building,” Market said.
    Several speakers at the groundbreaking attended by several hundred acknowledged the oftentimes challenging path to reaching the construction point with the arts center. For a time the $15 million state funding vital to the project was in doubt, and an additional $5 million from the city of Eau Claire and $3.5 million from Eau Claire County had to be procured. Private fundraising continues and totals about $15 million. Project backers hope to reach $16 million raised locally and are seeking additional funds via national foundations.
    In addition to money challenges, the project faced two lawsuits filed by a group calling itself Voters With Facts that questioned the process used to approve it. And many doubted whether such an ambitious venture could occur in Eau Claire.
    Former Eau Claire County Judge Thomas Barland, who along with his wife, Jill, are among fundraising leaders for the project, said the arts center is a sign of the resilient, can-do attitude of Eau Claire.
    Four years ago, when Confluence Project plans were first revealed, the project faced opposition, doubters “and a relatively small cadre of supporters,” Thomas Barland said. The hundreds gathered for the ceremony are evidence of how that has changed, he said.
    “There is a new life where previously pessimism prevailed,” he said.
    Eau Claire City Council President Kerry Kincaid also noted challenges with moving the arts center forward. And while building the project remains, Thursday was a time for joy, she said.
    “Today we can rest a bit and celebrate that in 2016, Eau Claire built something that changed everything.”
    Contact: 715-830-5911,

  • $250,000 grant awarded for the Confluence Arts Center from Mayo Clinic Health System

    Date: Sep. 12, 2016eccf_logo_correcturl
    For Immediate Release

    Contact: Sue Bornick, Executive Director
    306 S. Barstow St. Suite 104
    Eau Claire, WI 54701

    Mayo Clinic Health System of northwest Wisconsin has awarded the Eau Claire Community Foundation a $250,000 grant for the Confluence Arts Center in downtown Eau Claire. 

    “The Confluence Arts Center highlights the value placed on the arts in the Chippewa Valley,” said Randall Linton, M.D., president & CEO of Mayo Clinic Health System of northwest Wisconsin. “Mayo Clinic Health System is proud to play a role in making this performing arts center a reality. It will be a destination landmark for years to come and will also help attract and retain highly skilled healthcare workers in the Eau Claire area. We look at this as an investment in both our community and our employees.”
    The Mayo Clinic Health System grant will be paid over five years and will be matched by a $1.5 million challenge gift offered by a group of anonymous donors. The “Breaking New Ground” campaign is a community-wide effort to build the Arts Center. Funding has included $15 million from the state of Wisconsin, $5 million from the City of Eau Claire and $3.5 million from Eau Claire County. More than $14 million in philanthropy has already been committed to the $45 million dollar project, according to Sue Bornick, Executive Director of the Eau Claire Community Foundation (ECCF).
    Presenting the grant award was Dr. Linton from Mayo Clinic Health System. The award was accepted by ECCF Board of Trustees Vice Chair Laura Talley, ECCF Board of Trustees Secretary Laurie Klinkhammer, and Eau Claire Confluence, Inc. Chair Jerry Jacobson. Members of the Confluence Fundraising Committee were also present.
    The Confluence Project, located at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers, is a collaborative effort to continue the revitalization of downtown Eau Claire.
    The 130,000 square foot Arts Center will include a 1,200 seat large theater and a 400 seat flexible theater, along with rehearsal rooms, offices, and classrooms for UW-Eau Claire. The project is expected to break ground in late fall if the philanthropic goal of nearly $16 million is reached and to be completed in late 2018.
    The challenge campaign ends September 30. To learn more, visit or call the Eau Claire Community Foundation at (715) 552-3801.

  • $1.5 Million Match Announced!

    Conf Ann for Jubilee

    Eau Claire’s Confluence Arts Center received a huge boost in its fundraising efforts with the announcement of a $1.5 million challenge grant to the project. The goal of the grant is to secure another $1.5 million in pledges and gifts by September 30. The resulting $3 million will allow for the Arts Center groundbreaking and construction to begin in September. The matching gift challenge was announced as part of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council’s annual Jubilee Event at the Florian Gardens.

    The $1.5 million challenge has been provided by a group of anonymous donors who want to ensure the successful completion of fundraising for the construction of the Confluence Arts Center. According to fundraising co-chairs Tom and Jill Barland, this commitment represents a significant final push in the fundraising from individuals and companies in the region. To date, the Arts Center fundraising has secured $12.5 million in gifts and pledges. The challenge grant and matching funds will add another $3 million to the project, which will generate nearly $16 million in private gifts for the construction of the Arts Center.

    “We have received such tremendous support from so many who can see the future of our community through the construction of the Confluence Arts Center,” said Jill Barland. “This generous challenge match of $1.5 million is the final major endeavor to ensure we will indeed break ground in September. With the goal so close at hand, we believe there are people and companies who want to make this dream a reality and are ready to commit.”

    The “Breaking New Ground” gift challenge will match every pledge and gift received by September 30, 2016. Donors will have until December 31, 2016, to make their first pledge payment. Pledges toward the Arts Center construction can extend over a period of up to five years. Every dollar will be matched up to $1.5 million, realizing a total of $3 million toward the Arts Center construction. Groundbreaking and construction will begin in mid-September with the facility opening anticipated by March 2018.

    Gifts and pledges are being accepted by both the Eau Claire Community Foundation and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation. For details on how and where to give go to or contact Susan Bornick, executive director of the Community Foundation at 715-552-3801, or Kimera Way, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation at 715-836-5180.

    Interested in donating to the Performing Arts Center?
    All donations of any amount are greatly appreciated!

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  • 100 Business in 100 Days Campaign

    100in100 Logo

    Be a part of the Community for the Confluence’s newest campaign, 100 Businesses in 100 Days! Our goal in the next 100 days is to get pledges of support from 100 businesses (big AND small!) towards the Confluence Arts Center. Construction starts this summer, and we have raised over $13 million on our way to our $15 million goal! Pledge today and help us cross the finish line! To talk to someone for more information, contact the Eau Claire Community Foundation at (715) 552-3801. To make a pledge, fill out one of the forms below and send to the Eau Claire Community Foundation (address listed below).

  • $250,000 grant awarded to the Confluence Arts Center from Xcel Energy

    Xcel Energy has just announced a $250,000 grant they have awarded to the highly anticipated Confluence Arts Center. Below is a press release from the Eau Claire Community Foundation with all of the details:

    Date: May 17, 2016

    The Eau Claire Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Xcel Energy has awarded the Foundation a $250,000 grant for the Confluence Building Fund.

    The Confluence Project is a collaborative effort to continue the redevelopment of downtown Eau Claire at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers. The centerpiece of the project is the Confluence Arts Center, a state-of-the-art facility to showcase Eau Claire’s arts community.

    Philanthropic support is critical to reach the Confluence Arts Center Campaign’s new $15 million fundraising goal; the original $13.5 million dollar goal was expanded to $15 million to ensure that the project moves forward with a September 2016 groundbreaking. Donations to the Confluence Building Fund, established at the Eau Claire Community Foundation for the construction of the Confluence Arts Center building, will help Campaign organizers attain this goal.

    Presenting the grant award were Ben Fowke, Xcel Energy Chairman and President, and CEO Mark Stoering, President of Xcel Energy-Wisconsin. Eau Claire Community Foundation Board Chair Mark Faanes as well as Confluence Fundraising Committee Co-Chairs Tom and Jill Barland and Meghan Bauer were present to receive the award. Thanks to Xcel Energy’s generous grant, funding for the Confluence Arts Center has exceeded $13 million.

    However, gifts and pledges to be paid over multiple years are still being sought and are still needed. The goal of the Confluence Arts Center Campaign is to have enough private funds committed by the end of this year to ensure that the Confluence Arts Center will be able to open in 2018.

    To learn more or make a gift to the Confluence Arts Center, you can go to the Eau Claire Community Foundation website’s Confluence page (at under the “Lasting Impact” tab) or to the Community for the Confluence website at You can also email Eau Claire Community Foundation Executive Director Sue Bornick at or Kimera Way, UW-Eau Claire Foundation President, at

    The Eau Claire Community Foundation is a bridge connecting donors with charities in order to improve quality of life in the Eau Claire area. People do not give TO the Eau Claire Community Foundation; they give THROUGH it.

    Contact: Sue Bornick, Executive Director
    306 S. Barstow St. Suite 104
    Eau Claire, WI 54701


    Interested in donating to the Performing Arts Center? All donations of any amount are greatly appreciated! Donate here!

  • Confluence Art Center Presentation


    ConfluenceBy Tom Giffey | original article
    View/download building presentation


    Ground won’t be broken on the Confluence Center until late summer or early fall, but you can already get a good look at what downtown Eau Claire’s performing arts center will look like. Nearly four years after the project was first announced, the partners behind it have unveiled new, more complete architectural renderings of the four-story, 130,000-square-foot riverside building.

    While superficially similar to the original conceptual drawings, the new renderings provide a sharper look at the $45 million university-community facility and how it will fit into its surroundings. From the edge of a public plaza at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire rivers, multi-paned windows will soar 40 feet, while the highest part of the structure will be 86 feet above the ground. Like the nearby river, the building will undulate with a series of curved bump-outs on upper floors. These areas will be clad in copper, which will take on a blue-green patina with age. The rest of the building’s exterior will be greenish-black stone, providing a contrast to the light provided by the massive windows. While the building will have four functional levels, it will also have 11 different roof elevations, giving it a multi-leveled appearance.

    The arts center was designed by Strang Architects of Madison and Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture of New York, with Malcolm Holzman as the lead designer. The building will occupy roughly a block along Graham Avenue in downtown Eau Claire, just east of the Chippewa River and south of Haymarket Landing, a privately funded mixed-use building that will feature student-oriented apartments and commercial space.

    “It’s exciting,” Ben Richgruber, executive director of the Eau Claire Regional Arts Council, said of the unveiling of the designs. “It’s been fun to see it all come together from ideas to blocks on paper to actual blueprint-type ideas.”

    ECRAC, which currently operates the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire, is part of the new arts center’s governing body, the Confluence Council. The council also includes representatives of UW-Eau Claire, the city, and other groups. These stakeholders worked together throughout the design process to create an efficient floor plan that features shared workspaces and rehearsal areas, Richgruber said.

    The yearlong design process fleshed out details of the facility, inside and out. While the Confluence center was originally conceived as having three theaters – one with 1,200 seats, another with 450 seats, and a third flexible “black box” theater seating 250 – the architectural design now includes only two theaters, plus three additional rehearsal areas that could be used as performance spaces.

    Mike Rindo, UWEC’s assistant chancellor for facilities, said the new plans are more flexible and less duplicative than the initial three-theater idea. While the original plans called for the two larger theaters to be traditional in nature – with prosceniums, curtains, and permanent seating – that will now only apply to the largest theater, which will seat 1,200 and will have a standing-room capacity of 1,500. The large theater will also have a balcony, box seats, and a permanent shell above the stage that will allow it to function as a concert hall.

    The smaller theater, meanwhile, will seat 400 to 425 and will be highly adaptable, allowing for productions to be performed on a thrust stage or in the round. “It’s a very ambitious theater with a very ambitious approach to the space,” said Kimera Way, executive director of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation, another partner in the project.

    In addition to the two main theaters, the so-called Clear Water Hall – which will jut out from the third floor over the plaza below – will be rigged for lights, allowing it to be used as a performance space as well as for rehearsals.


    The arts center’s first floor will be devoted to the two large theaters; a spacious lobby with ceilings soaring up three levels; an art gallery and a music rehearsal space, both of which have two-story ceilings; a scene shop; and a Visit Eau Claire visitors center on the southeast corner of the building, next to the intersection of Graham Avenue and Gibson Street. The two large theaters will share spacious dressing rooms and a green room, while an additional green room and a separate pair of dressing rooms overlooking the river will be reserved for visiting stars. These special accommodations for top artists, coupled with the aesthetics of the large theater, will hopefully make Eau Claire a memorable destination for touring performers, Richgruber explained.

    The second floor will be largely devoted to offices for Visit Eau Claire, ECRAC, and other arts organizations, as well as costume storage and educational space such as a computer lab, a design studio, and a makeup room. Finally, the third floor will feature the flexible Clear Water Hall, additional rehearsal rooms, and a recording studio that will bolster UWEC’s music program.

    As the designs – and budget – for the project evolved over the past year, a number of other changes were made. A slimmer budget means that space for the university’s fine arts program won’t be included in the Confluence Center; Rindo said the art program’s needs will be addressed in future renovation plans for Haas Fine Arts Center on Water Street. Meanwhile, there will be more space in the Confluence Center for art education for both K-12 students and community.


    In addition to new designs, the arts center also has a new price tag: $45 million. That’s less than the $51 million that planners originally projected, but it’s more than the $40 million discussed last year after the contribution from the state went from a hoped-for $25 million to a locked-in-the-budget $15 million.

    Dan Clumpner, a principal with Commonweal Development, one of the project’s initial partners and now a development consultant, said the $45 million estimate rose in part because of inflation in construction costs and poorer-than-expected subsurface soil conditions on the building site. Specifically, excavation work revealed a layer of wood debris 17 feet below the surface, requiring more stabilization for the structure.

    Because public contributions to the project – $15 from the state, $5 million from the city, and $3.5 million from the county – will stay the same, additional philanthropic donations will have to make up the difference, Way said. While $12.5 million of the original $13.5 million fundraising goal has been pledged, the philanthropic target will have to be increased by several million dollars, she explained. Way expects the $5 million gap to be met with additional philanthropy, grants, and donations of products and services to the construction.

    “We want to be transparent about where we are on the cost,” Clumpner added. “We want to focus on achieving that budget rather than compromising the facility.”

  • Confluence Possibilities – UW Eau Claire

    The Confluence Arts Center will provide enriched experiences for UW-Eau Claire students who will both perform and work behind the scenes in the new state-of-the-art facility to be constructed in downtown Eau Claire. Private gifts in support of the Confluence Arts Center are welcome as the project partners near the $13.5 million philanthropy goal. This video describes the important impact the project will have on UW-Eau Claire students.

  • Confluence Arts Center Design Plans to be Unveiled Tuesday


    Design plans for the new Confluence Arts Center will be presented to the public and news media at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, in the lobby of the State Theatre in downtown Eau Claire.

    Plans for the arts center were developed during discussions with user groups and stakeholders over the course of 10 meetings with the architect and engineering design teams led by Strang Architects, Madison, and Holzman, Moss and Bottino, New York City.

    In addition to presenting design plans for the arts center, project partners will provide information about the ownership role of Eau Claire Confluence Arts Inc., the non-profit group that will construct and own the arts center, as well as the Confluence Council, which will oversee operations of the arts center.


In the News

Sizable donation gifted to Eau Claire Confluence project
WEAU – January 11, 2018

Inside Eau Claire’s Confluence Arts Center
WEAU – December 20, 2017

Fill-in lead: Jason Jon Anderson is confident he’s right person to step in to lead Confluence Arts Center to its destiny as centerpiece of revitalized downtown Eau Claire
Leader-Telegram – November 3, 2017

UWEC Grad Will Hit Ground Running as Confluence Arts Center Director
VolumeOne – June 29, 2017

Ashley Furniture makes $25,000 donation to Confluence Arts Center
WQOW – February 20, 2017

Ceremonial start of the Confluence Arts Center construction
Leader-Telegram – October 7, 2016

Xcel donates $250,000 to Confluence Project
Leader-Telegram – May 17, 2016

Xcel Energy announces $250,000 donation to Confluence Arts Center
WEAU – May 17, 2016

Confluence plans clear final hurdle

WEAU – Mar 22, 2016

Eau Claire City Council to vote on arts center design
Leader Telegram – Mar 22, 2016

Public meeting held for Confluence Arts Center
WEAU – Mar 22, 2016

Arts center, UW-EC plans reach City Council
Leader Telegram – Mar 19, 2016

Plan Commission approves arts center site plan
Leader Telegram – Mar 15, 2016

Confluence Project: Open bids, closed meetings
Leader Telegram – Mar 9, 2016

Transfer of Confluence property made
WEAU – Mar 8, 2016

Confluence Arts Center board hires auditing firm, construction manager
Leader Telegram – March 8, 2016

Arts center transparency touchy subject
Leader Telegram – Feb 17, 2016

This is what’s possible when we pull together
Leader Telegram – Feb 10, 2016

Stakeholders release Confluence Arts Center Plans
WEAU – Feb 9, 2016

Confluence fundraising at $11.5M

Leader Telegram – Feb 6, 2016

Confluence Project performing arts center design unveiling nears

Leader Telegram – Feb 6, 2016

Arts, cultural scene helps attract business

Leader Telegram – Jan 31, 2016

Confluence offer too good to miss

Leader Telegram – Dec 18, 2015

Students pledge $50,000 toward Confluence

Leader Telegram – Dec 18, 2015

Time winding down for Confluence fundraising campaign

WEAU – Dec 16, 2015

Eau Claire Confluence project receives big donation

WQOW – Dec 14, 2015

Confluence Arts Center campaign receives two additional pledges

WEAU – Dec 4, 2015

Council Inks Confluence Agreement

Volume One – Nov 25, 2015

Confluence Arts Center gains three new pledges

Leader Telegram – Oct 12, 2015

County reaffirms $3.5M in funding for Confluence Project

WEAU – Sep 15, 2015

County Board OKs $3.5M for Confluence with contingencies 

Leader Telegram – Sep 15, 2015

Local county commission approves resolution to pledge $3.5M to arts portion of Confluence Project

WQOW – Aug 11, 2015

New Eau Claire TIF district eyed to fund downtown upgrades

Leader Telegram – Aug 1, 2015

Arts center fundraising needs final push

Leader Telegram – July 19, 2015

Confluence funding moves forward

WEAU – Jul 13, 2015

Behind-the-scenes lobbying saved state funding for Eau Claire performing arts center

Leader Telegram – May 29, 2015

Rep. Bernier & Sen. Moulton discuss funding for Confluence

WEAU – May 29, 2015

If funding secured for project, developer hopes arts center can be completed by end of 2016

Leader Telegram – May 29, 2015

State funding restored for Confluence Project

Milwaukee Business News – May 28, 2015

Joint Finance about-face great news

Leader Telegram – May 27, 2015

Mason Trust Pledges $100k to Confluence Performing Arts Center

Volume One – Apr 13, 2015

Big Orange Crane

Volume One – Apr 1, 2015

Construction Company Pledges $250K Toward Eau Claire Arts Center

WPR – Mar 30, 2015

Eau Claire city leaders ask legislators to back Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – Mar 23, 2015

TIF used as intended in downtown

Leader Telegram – Mar 16, 2015

Candidates differ over $5 million city pledge to Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – Mar 12, 2015

Commonweal Pledges $100K to Confluence Arts Center

Volume One – Mar 10, 2015

Confluence Project 50 for 50 campaign met, expanded, renamed

WQOW – Mar 10, 2015

A tale of two cities, with one difference

Leader Telegram – Feb 15, 2015

Nationally known musicians to donate to Confluence

Leader Telegram – Feb 12, 2015

Art crawl raises money for Confluence Project

WEAU – Feb 7, 2015

It’s third and goal for arts center effort

Leader Telegram – Feb 2, 2015

Bipartisan regional support seen for Confluence in Legislature

Leader Telegram – Jan 31, 2015

Consultant: Arts center would increase development, jobs

Leader Telegram – Jan 28, 2015

UWEC Professor explains the economic impact of Confluence Project

WEAU – Jan 29, 2015

UPDATE: Walker’s budget will include $15M for Confluence

Volume One – Jan 28, 2015

Walker’s $15M pledge for Confluence cheers supporters

Leader Telegram – Jan 28, 2015

Gov. Walker announces matching funds for Confluence Project

WQOW – Jan 28, 2015

Confluence arts center fundraising nears halfway mark

Leader Telegram – Jan 15, 2015

Confluence Project claimed the No. 1 spot on the Leader-Telegram’s list of top local stories for the second year running

Leader Telegram – Dec 29, 2014

Gov. Walker wants to make sure plan for Confluence Project ensures success

WEAU – Dec 17, 2014

Construction underway at Confluence Project’s ‘Haymarket Landing’

WQOW – Dec 16, 2014

Panel favors pedestrian bridge over Eau Claire River

Leader Telegram – Dec 11, 2014

Put your money where your heart is

Volume One – Dec 11, 2014

Turning a New Page

Volume One – Nov 27, 2014

Art Center Design

Leader Telegram – Nov 25, 2014

Court deadlines set in suit related to Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – Nov 19, 2014

Haymarket Landing a huge step forward

Leader Telegram – Nov 16, 2014

Northwestern Bank pledges $100,000 to Confluence Project

Chippewa Valley Business Report – Oct 22, 2014

Confluence Project development agreement released

WQOW – Oct 10, 2014

Commission approves Confluence Project’s mixed-use building

Leader Telegram – Sep 24, 2014

Leaders named for Confluence Campaign

Leader Telegram – Sep 22, 2014

Confluence project fundraising effort organized and underway

WEAU – Sep 22, 2014

More buildings dismantled to make way for Confluence Project

WEAU – Sep 19, 2014

City Votes to Support Confluence Non-Profit

WEAU – Sep 9, 2014

Downtown demolition draws spectators to sidewalks

WQOW – Aug 26, 2014

UW System regents verbally back Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – Aug 21, 2014

City leaders react to Confluence Project funding changes

WEAU – Aug 20, 2014

Regents consider new way for Confluence funding

Chippewa Herald – Aug 18, 2014

Hotel renovations would aid Confluence funding

Leader Telegram – Aug 17, 2014

Confluence Project alive due to public-private partnership

Chippewa Valley Business Report – Jul 28, 2014

Confluence fundraising effort begins

WEAU – Jul 25, 2014

The Confluence: It’s still up to you

Volume One – Jul 23, 2014

Governor Walker speaks in support of the Confluence Project

Volume One – Jun 23, 2014

Inside the ‘Black Box’

Volume One – May 15, 2014

Taking next steps as Confluence Project moves forward

Leader Telegram – May 7, 2014

Area lawmakers need to push Confluence

Leader Telegram – April 10, 2014

The Confluence Project Wins Big

Volume One – April 2, 2014

Referendum results final, Confluence Project finish line still a ways off

WQOW TV-18 – April 2, 2014

WPR Covers Confluence Project

Wisconsin Public Radio – March 31, 2014

Donors pledge $675K to Confluence, put total over $5M

Volume One – March 27, 2014

Long-term View Needed in Arts Center Decision

Leader Telegram – February 2, 2014

Confluence Referendum Wording Concerns UW-EC students

Leader Telegram – January 31, 2014

Local Meeting with State Arts Board Leaders Addresses Strategies for Thriving

Leader Telegram – January 28, 2014

Confluence Project Developer Reacts to County-Wide Referendum

WQOW TV-18 – January 22, 2014

County Board OKs Confluence Funding, but Only if Referendum is Held

Leader Telegram – January 21, 2014

New Group Supporting the Confluence Project Targets Young Entrepreneurs

WQOW TV-18 – January 16, 2014

Confluence Referendum Petition Verified; Council Action Possible This Month

Leader Telegram – January 10, 2014

Chamber President Urges Members to support Project

Leader Telegram – January 9, 2014

Walker Should Like The Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – June 23, 2013

Will This Venue Work?
Volume One Magazine – May 22, 2013

Zach Halmstad announces $500,000 gift from JAMF Software

JAMF Software – May 20, 2013

JAMF Software Pledges $500,000 to Confluence Project

Volume One Magazine – Mar. 13, 2013

UWEC Student Senate gives $50,000 and their support [PDF]

UW-Eau Claire Student Senate – Nov. 19, 2012

UW Regents approve concept [PDF]

Capital Planning & Budget Committee – Oct. 4, 2012

RCU gives $1,000,000 to Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – Sep. 19, 2012

Stars Align For Confluence Project

Leader Telegram – May 23, 2012

Businesses React To Place For Downtown Dormitory And Arts Center

Leader Telegram – May 16, 2012

$85 Million “Confluence Project” coming downtown

Volume One Magazine – May 15, 2012