Vision on the River

Pablo Center concourse named in honor of the late Dan Clumpner

Lauren Fisher

Dan Clumpner
Dan Clumpner

Following the opening of the Pablo Center at the Confluence on Sept. 22, the best view of the actual confluence where the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers meet will arguably be from the landing between the second and third floors of the arts center’s massive lobby.Floor-to-ceiling windows and the grand height of the space will provide spectacular sights, both inside (of the lobby that will hold thousands of people gathering for artistic endeavors) and outside (of the waters that gave Eau Claire its identity first as an industrial town and now as a burgeoning creative epicenter).

This scenic spot has been dubbed the Dan Clumpner Concourse, named in honor of one of the Pablo Center’s strongest advocates. As principal and co-owner of Commonweal Development, Clumpner was a driving force behind the Confluence Project, a collaborative effort that also included arts groups and UW-Eau Claire. Clumpner was a civic and entrepreneurial leader and an active servant on boards and committees concerning the development of Eau Claire. He died Sunday, Sept. 2, just weeks before the Pablo Center was to have its grand opening.

The official dedication of the concourse was held during a celebration of Clumpner’s life on Sept. 6 at the Pablo Center, although more than a year ago it had been slated to be part of the grand opening. Those involved worked to keep the naming a surprise, explained Jason Jon Anderson, the Pablo Center’s executive director. But when Clumpner’s health started to fail, the big reveal was moved up. Anderson and Kim Way, executive director of the UWEC Foundation, presented the dedication to Clumpner a few days before he passed.

“He always said that the public should have the best view of the confluence of the two rivers,” Anderson said. Clumpner had advocated for the inclusion of the concourse in the building’s design to that end. He will be memorialized with a sign and portrait explaining his significance to the Pablo Center project. “If there is a true north in the building, it can be found on that Dan Clumpner Concourse,” Anderson said.

Clumpner, 74, was survived by his wife, Sonya, and the five children and 11 grandchildren of their blended family. In lieu of flowers, Clumpner’s obituary requested that memorials be given in his name to the Pablo-bilities Access Tickets fund, which was created to make tickets available for families with low and moderate incomes.