Naming rights to Eau Claire Confluence Arts Center unveiled - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Naming rights to Eau Claire Confluence Arts Center unveiled


Eau Claire (WQOW) - We now know whose name will be on Eau Claire's downtown Confluence Arts Center. 

With a $5 million donation, it'll now be called the "Pablo Center at the Confluence". 

The group announced it Friday at a private press conference. 

The Pablo Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Pablo Properties, which is responsible for building the Jamf office, The Lismore Hotel, and partially The Oxbow Hotel. The three founding board members are Julia Johnson, Jason Wudi and Zach Halmstad. 

News 18 also learned the center is still about $7 million short in funding. Acting Executive Director Jason John Anderson said they expect about $3 million of that gap to be filled by grants. The other $4 million will come from selling the naming rights to the remaining 27 spaces for sale. The rights for those spaces cost between $100,000-$500,000

They've been searching for an executive director since October, after they learned Kevin Miller didn't have the degrees he claimed. Anderson said they should announce the new executive director by Thursday. 

News 18 also learned about the acts coming to the center this season. So far, 12 are tentatively booked. They're hoping to get as many as 18 for the season. 

Anderson said some of the names will be new to local fans, others have national recognition. The center has its grand opening on September 22, with an all-day event and ticketed act that night. 

Eau Claire Confluence Arts members said they didn't need to include 'confluence' in the name at all, so they were grateful the Pablo board decided on "The Pablo Center at the Confluence". They're hoping going forward, other restaurants or businesses in the area will include it in their name as well, making "The Confluence" an area of its own. 

As for why they created the Pablo Foundation, the founding board members said it's in part because of a lack of arts funding in Wisconsin. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies says Wisconsin ranks 47th out of the 50 states for what we spend on arts per-person. Wisconsinites spend 14 cents, while the national average is $1.08. Just across the border in Minnesota, they have the most money spent on arts per capita in the country. They spend $7.08 per person. 
As for the future of the Pablo Foundation, there are four pillars they want to work on to improve our community - housing, health, education and the arts. No word yet on what their next project might be.

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