Slated for multiple grand openings after the new year, an almost 95,000-square-foot facility is ushering in a new era for arts and culture in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County and the region. And, over the nearer term, the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center in downtown Council Bluffs will provide a home for blossoming arts organizations now under the PACE (Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment) umbrella.

Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center

The Center Will Increase Access to the Arts

“While PACE is often known for our community programming, like Music in the Park or our public art installations – like Tom Friedman’s ‘Looking Up’ on the riverfront – the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center is our first major initiative,” said Chief Executive Officer Danna Kehm.

From the historic Harvester II building at 1001 South 6th St., the renovated center bears the name of lead donors Ted and Polly Hoff and will feature a theater, rehearsal areas, gallery and artist studios, classrooms and a teaching kitchen.

“It will be the new home for multiple arts nonprofits including PACE, Chanticleer Community Theater, Kanesville Symphony Orchestra, American Midwest Ballet and Kitchen Council,” Kehm said. “Together, we will increase access to the arts, target new audiences, and reduce overhead, better realizing all our missions.”

PACE Brings Together Several Organizations

Many of the arts providers were on the brink of closing their doors, said Pete Tulipana, president and CEO with Iowa West Foundation, which prioritized the establishment of PACE in 2016 as part of its community-driven strategic plan (and as an outgrowth of the Bluffs Arts Council).

“Those small, understaffed organizations have now come under the umbrella of PACE to create a robust arts and culture organization that is prepared to provide arts offerings and education for the benefit of our community,” he said.

Kids learn cooking at PACE
Cooking class at PACE

Iowa West Foundation Shows Commitment to the Arts

The Foundation also awarded $9 million to the city of Council Bluffs for the West Broadway reconstruction project, currently underway.

Along with the Harvester Artspace Lofts, the Hoff Center is poised to carve out an arts district near West Broadway.

“The commitment to Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment and the Hoff Center signifies our commitment to a strong arts and culture organization and the belief that creatives are critical to the growth of our community,” Tulipana said, adding the Foundation will continue to provide operating support to PACE as a multi-year funding grantee.

“Also, we’ve hired project advocates and assigned an IWF staff member with 26-plus years of construction experience to ensure the project finishes on time and on budget,” he said. Kehm described construction as currently on schedule for completion in December.
“PACE and partners will move into our new home in January 2020,” she said.

Arts Mean Business

Alongside its partners, PACE is increasing access to low- or no-cost programming and education at the center; for instance, Kehm anticipates facilitating more than 50 classes annually at the space, 40-plus performances in the new theater, and five below-cost artist studios.

“PACE believes that the ‘arts mean business,’ and our development and strategic partnerships will stimulate the local economy, create jobs and will be a cornerstone of tourism,” she said.

With an estimated 54,000 annual visitors, the Hoff Center is projected to contribute $4.6 million each year to the local economy, according to PACE.

“A thriving artists’ community is essential to the continued growth of Pottawattamie County, and we see PACE and the opportunities it brings with both performing and creative arts as transformative for the long term,” Tulipana said. “PACE and the new Hoff Arts Center will be a key partner in the community. The organization has already established strong partnerships with our school systems, small museums in the county, senior citizen organizations and many others.”

Hoff Family at the Groundbreaking
Ted Hoff, Danna Kehm, Polina and Bob Schlott and Pete Tulipana

Get Involved

Greater Omaha Chamber members are encouraged to volunteer as PACE Ambassadors, providing patrons with quality service and entertainment experiences, and sponsorship opportunities are available for Hoff Center’s inaugural annual fundraiser, PACE Interactive. The February 22 event will showcase the new center, and the artists and partners who call Hoff Center’s home.

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