Prairie Arts Center
In 1908 Theodore Roosevelt was President, and Congress appropriated $110,000 for the construction of a federal building in North Platte. That beautiful building opened on July 26th, 1913 at a cost of $88,475. Its architectural style, Italian Renaissance Revival, was to represent the ideals of democracy and high standards of sophistication in its community.
This style was rarely used outside of large cities, and that fact makes the restoration of this building very significant. There are only 18 Italian Renaissance buildings in Nebraska and 11 of those are in Omaha and 4 are in Lincoln.
It remained a federal building until 1964 when the federal government transferred the title to the Junior College District. The college officially opened in August 1965. Mid-Plains continued using the building for classes and/or offices until 2000. When it was purchased by a private party. It was then donated to the city and there were plans for the building to become city offices. This never happened due to a change in city administration.
Creativity Unlimited Arts Council led us into the present by taking ownership in 2008 for a cost of $10,000 with the promise to raise $250,000 to begin a restoration plan. After lots of fundraising and thousands of volunteer hours, the basement/studio level opened in December of 2013- it was close, but 2013 was the building's 100th year.
We opened our first floor in November of 2015. This floor includes the historic East Marble Hall, which still contains the original marble flooring from 1913. A beautiful main gallery with changing exhibits monthly, wall space rented to local artists to show their artwork, and our abundant Wildflower gift shop. The East Marble Hall is a beautiful space for our yoga classes, events, and wedding ceremonies.
During the fall of 2017, the second floor opened. It includes a library, the Textile room, office, catering kitchen, and a reception room with an outdoor balcony patio. The second floor houses many events such as baby & bridal showers, meetings, graduations, and weddings receptions. Just like the years before, 2 years later, in 2019 the third floor was opened. Our third floor hosts all of our art classes and open studio ceramics. There are four private studios that local artists can rent to fulfill their creative passions. A lovely gem on our 3rd floor is the Ted Long Legacy Room. This room was specifically created to resemble the art studio cabin of renowned international artist Ted Long. We are proud to display many pieces of his work and his personal items donated to us by his family.
The Prairie Arts Center is ever changing but it will always strive to let creativity and self-expression thrive in the the community of North Platte and its surrounding areas. As long as this building stands, there will be a place for people to express & enjoy one of mans most beautiful gifts,