Foundation for the Performing Arts Center
In the mid-1980s, a handful of passionate leaders came together to create a world-class facility devoted to the enrichment of lives through the quality presentation of arts and cultural activities. In 1986, these dynamic individuals forged a partnership between the Foundation for the Performing Arts, Cal Poly State University and the City of San Luis Obispo through the Central Coast Performing Arts Center Commission (CCPACC) to accomplish what none could do alone. For the next ten years (1986-1996), the Foundation and partners were the persistent, driving force behind the realization of a world-class performing arts venue in San Luis Obispo County.
Generous individuals and businesses, through the Foundation, contributed $12.5 million of the $30 million required to complete the Center, which is comprised of the 494-seat Spanos Theater, and the Christopher Cohan Center, home to the 1,274-seat Harman Hall, a 330-seat performance space called the Pavilion, and a 180-seat recital hall.
The partnership that came together had one mission – to promote and provide an extraordinary and accessible center for the performing arts that elevates the arts in our community. The success of this partnership was indeed extraordinary. The resulting hall is among the best anywhere. Local community groups and seasoned performers alike find the venue exciting and exceptional. Audiences come away in awe of the sound, the quality of the art, and the sense of community that combines to create a meaningful and uplifting experience.
The Performing Arts Center today hosts preeminent international and national performers as well as our own talented local performing arts groups. In total, the Center is home to more than 300 performances and events each year reaching over 80,000 ticket patrons, and plays host to more than 25 local non-profit cultural and educational organizations.