The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

Every. Body. Dances.

528 Hennepin Avenue Minneapolis, MN, 55403


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. 

Architect: Miller Dunwiddie Architecture

Funders: Artspace Projects; Mary Lyn and Richard Ballantine; Best Buy Children’s Foundation; Blythe Brenden-Mann Foundation; Marney and Conley Brooks, Sr.; Cassidy & Associates; City of Minneapolis; Russell Cowles; Sage and John Cowles; Dance/USA; Kenneth and Judy Dayton; Mary Lee Dayton; Wendy and Doug Dayton; Digital River; Ford Foundation; General Mills Foundation ; Katherine and Robert Goodale ; HRK Foundation, including: The Hayes Fund, The Art & Martha Kaemmer Fund, The Pugsley Fund & The Mary H. Rice Foundation; Ruth and John Huss; The Kresge Foundation; Friends of Kelley Lindquist; Nadine and Bill McGuire; Minnesota State Building & Construction Trades: Market Recovery Program; Laborers’ District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 292; Sheet Metal Workers International Association, Local 10; United Union of Roofers, Local 96; International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators, Local 34; Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association, Local 265; Phileona Foundation; Pohlad Family Foundation; RBC Foundation; Elizabeth Redleaf; Gloria and Fred Sewell / Sewell Family Foundation; State of Minnesota Stimulus Funds – CDBG ; Target Foundation; TCF Foundation; Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation; U.S. Bancorp Foundation; Wells Fargo Foundation Minnesota ; David Wilson and Michael Peterman ; Margaret and Angus Wurtele

Financial Partners: State of Minnesota; City of Minneapolis

est. 2011

Development Type

Performance Center / Commercial Space

Total Area

158,955 sq. ft.