More than a decade in the making, The Cowles Center has filled a major void in the Twin Cities’ arts scene by providing office, rehearsal and performance space for small and midsize arts organizations. Centrally located, affordable and specifically designed for dance, this three-building complex in downtown Minneapolis boasts two theaters (500 and 200 seats), 10 dance studios, and administrative space for some 20 nonprofit groups, including many of the area’s leading dance companies.
In addition, The Cowles connects arts educators and students across the country by means of an award-winning, industry-leading distance learning program. Launched in 2004, the program uses interactive videoconference technology to reach students throughout Minnesota — and, increasingly, the world. A new atrium, which serves as the Center’s lobby and houses its state-of-the-art distance learning studio, also serves as the link for two Minneapolis landmarks, an 1888 Masonic Temple known since 1979 as the Hennepin Center for the Arts (HCA), and the 1910 Shubert (now the Goodale) Theater, which originally stood two blocks away. Artspace acquired HCA in 1997 and the long-vacant theater the following year. Over 12 memorable days in February 1999, the theater was moved two blocks to its new home on Hennepin Avenue. At 5.8 million pounds, it was the heaviest building ever moved on rubber tires.