The Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center opened on March 16, 2004. Located at the corner of SE 5th Avenue and Main Street, this site is a rich history of community involvement that began when the Trinity Lutheran Church purchased the land in 1941 for $2250 and began construction of the church building in 1947. Members of this parish not only labored together to construct the frame of this building, but they donated their goods and talents to the church to create a home for their congregation.
The beautiful hand-quarried red rock that adorns the exterior of the building was purchased for $1,000 with the condition: you dig, you haul. Volunteers from the church used dynamite to extract the rock, and the mason required that the boulders be three to six feet in width to allow for additional carving and placement on the exterior walls. Congregation members loaded the boulders into their vehicles and made more than 150 trips to haul the stone from Camas, Washington to Hillsboro. Despite the challenges associated with creating and funding a new building, the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church completed construction of the new church and hosted its dedication on May 8, 1949. Since that time, the beautiful church building has remained a landmark in the Hillsboro community.
This historic property began its second stage of life in 1999 when it was proposed as a suitable location for a new cultural arts center for the Hillsboro community. Civic leaders have recognized the need for an arts center for many years, and this priority was identified in the Hillsboro Vision and Action 2020 Plan. The Hillsboro 2020 Plan represents a collaboration of hundreds of citizens, businesses and government to shape the growth and development of the greater Hillsboro area over the next twenty years. Arts and Culture were a high priority during the planning process, not only as a quality of life issue, but also as an opportunity for redevelopment in the downtown area.
Through the generous donation of $1,000,000 from Glenn & Viola Walters, the City of Hillsboro purchased the land, church building and accompanying house totaling 54,648 square feet from the Trinity Lutheran Church in December of 2000. Over the next four years, local citizens, businesses, community organizations and the City of Hillsboro committed the necessary funding to renovate the building and complete structural reinforcements. The building has undergone dramatic changes to accommodate the arts programs it will house.
The Arts Center Today
The Arts Center is a ground-breaking facility that provides expanded opportunities for youth and adult art education and training, nurturing of local arts organizations, increased access to local, regional and national artists and increased opportunity for individual artists to teach and demonstrate their craft. It is the first site constructed in Hillsboro with the intention of showcasing cultural events and providing community-centered education in the arts. The establishment of the Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center programs enables the City of Hillsboro to expand the services available to its residents and the surrounding community.
The Glenn & Viola Walters Cultural Arts Center houses a 200 seat performance/event space, six classrooms, gallery, kitchen, box office and beautiful outdoor grounds, including two terraces. The Center offers courses and workshops with an emphasis on ceramics and visual arts classes while also offering classes in theater, drawing, music, fiber arts, as well as providing a community location for banquets, meetings and cultural events. The Center is a showplace for the arts and a vibrant representation of Hillsboro's commitment to culture and the arts.