Confluence Arts Center Announces Naming Rights, New Challenge Grant

Tom Giffey

Image: Strang
The Royal Credit Union Theatre inside the Confluence Arts Center will seat 1,266 patrons. Image: Strang

The Confluence Arts Center won’t be finished for another 10 months, but donors are already being invited to take a seat – figuratively, at least. And if they make a gift to the downtown Eau Claire project by the end of next August, donors will see their money doubled.

But first, the seats: The Confluence has just announced the Make the Match Chair Campaign, under which donors can sponsor their seats in the Royal Credit Union Theatre, the largest performance space in the arts center. For each $5,000 contribution, a donor receives naming rights (though not sitting rights!) for a seat, said Jason Jon Anderson, acting executive director. Previous contributions will be counted toward the $5,000 figure, so if you’ve already pledged $2,500, for example, another gift of $2,500 will mean your name will be immortalized on a seat.

About 600 of the theater’s 1,266 seats are still available for sponsorship under the new campaign, Anderson said. If every seat is sponsored, the Confluence will receive approximately $3 million in donations, he added.

The final fundraising boost will help ensure that the arts center includes all the features that planners had hoped for. “This would allow us to really deliver everything we want to if those gifts are received by the end of the year,” Anderson said.

New donations will also leverage additional money via a challenge grant. Anderson said that an anonymous donor has offered to match up to $2 million in donations made by Aug. 31, the eve of the arts center’s opening. A similar anonymous challenge grant of $1.5 million was successful last year.

Construction on the approximately $45 million arts center, which will be shared by the community and UW-Eau Claire, is on schedule for the facility’s planned opening next September, Anderson added. In addition to Anderson, who is serving as acting executive director, the Confluence has three employees and hopes to announce the hiring of a director of artistic programming by Dec. 1. Meanwhile, the Confluence Council, which oversees the project, is expected to soon make a decision on how to proceed in its search for a permanent executive director. 

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