Good Works: Create a new day with the arts | Local News

We are ready for a new day. Challenging times have brought a deeper understanding of the necessity and power of the arts. Visual arts, dance, literature, music, film and more, the arts are altogether a major source of comfort, expression, and connection. We need the arts and our cultural resources are vital.

The Pump House Regional Arts Center has been a cultural resource for the La Crosse community since its founding in 1977. Housed in our re-purposed historic municipal waterworks structure, the Pump House offers a wide range of visual, performing, and literary arts opportunities that promote education, participation and appreciation of the arts.

The Pump House has three art galleries, a theater, meeting area, and a classroom with pottery studio. It is home for the United Fund for the Arts and Humanities and the Preservation Alliance of La Crosse as well as the base for the La Crosse Storytelling Festival. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a city of La Crosse landmark. The Pump House is a partner with the City in serving the community and in making La Crosse an arts destination.

Annual programs at the Pump House include theater performances, art exhibitions by professional artists, student artwork exhibitions, concerts, film screenings, literary events, dance performances, classes and storytelling events. Admission to the galleries and many events is free. The Pump House presents Artspire, an annual celebration of community through the arts, also offered free for all to attend. Artspire 2022 will be held June 10-11, with talented artists in numerous disciplines and the return of a very popular band.

Beginning with the kindergartener’s masterpiece on display in the Balcony Gallery through the most professional of exhibitions on the main floor, you will find something to inspire you at the Pump House. Attend a performance and you will have a remarkable experience in an intimate venue unlike any other in La Crosse. Participate in a class, come to a concert or other event and share an experience. The Pump House is a multi-disciplinary arts organization with a lot to offer.

Innovation, partnerships and accessibility are integral to Pump House events and programs. For example, with our “Carry Out — Dine In” program you can bring your carry out dinner from a local restaurant to privately dine in the art gallery as our only guests in the entire building. With another program, “Read in Color,” look for materials in our Little Free Library that celebrate marginalized voices and incorporate experiences from all identities for all readers. We also launched “Make Music La Crosse,” making our community part of this international celebration of music for the first time. (Look for “Make Music Winter,” coming Dec. 21.)

A full calendar of events is available at or call 608-785-1434. Participate, attend, or donate if you can. A season brochure is available in digital format on request or stop in to visit us at 119 King St. in La Crosse.

The story of today will be told to future generations through work created by today’s artists. Your membership or donation to the Pump House Regional Arts Center is an important part of supporting the arts for everyone. You can create a new day, for yourself and others, with the arts at the Pump House.

Toni Asher is executive director of Pump House Regional Arts Center.

Kenneth Proto

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