Director of Development, The Cowles Center
December 22, 2015 (Minneapolis) – The Cowles Center for Dance & The Performing
Arts’ Executive Director Lynn A. Von Eschen announced today that The Cowles Center has
received a $3 million donation from philanthropist and dance enthusiast Caroline Amplatz.
This gift will support the rehabilitation and preservation of the Arts & Education Wing at
The Cowles Center.
The Cowles Center’s Arts & Education Wing is currently home to 28 nonprofit dance,
performing arts, and cultural organizations, including two of Minnesota’s leading dance
schools. Additionally, the wing includes nine dance studios, which are heavily programmed
by both The Cowles Center and its partner dance companies and schools.
The 150,000 square foot Arts & Education Wing occupies the Historic Masonic Temple,
which originally opened in 1888. In the 1970s, this facility was renovated and re-launched
as the Hennepin Center for the Arts. Having helped nurture several generations of artists,
this facility has now gone decades without any major capital reinvestment.Today:
• The elevator mechanics, cars, and shafts are all in need of repair and are often not
• The existing roof and gutters are beyond temporary repair, causing ice dams and
significant leaks into the 8th floor theater space, rendering it unusable at times.
• Failing and leaking gutters are contributing to the rapid degradation of masonry,
requiring extensive tuckpointing and other repairs.
• Other architectural finishes of the building are rusting and degrading, contributing
to staining of the facade and compromising these historic elements.
“I cannot overstate how critical this gift will be for countless individual artists and
students, as well as for resident organizations like James Sewell Ballet, Zenon Dance
Company, Minnesota Dance Theatre, and Illusion Theater,” said Von Eschen. “On behalf of
the Cowles community, I want to express my deep-felt gratitude to Caroline Amplatz. This
gift will change the way Minnesota dances for decades to come.”
”Dance and arts education are passions of mine,” said Caroline Amplatz. “I am grateful to
be able to help create a safe and beautiful space for these artists to perform, learn and
The Cowles Center will begin construction on its Arts & Education Wing by summer 2016
with a projected completion by year-end 2017.