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PACE Breaks Ground on $27 million Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center

June 1, 2018

PACE Breaks Ground on $27 million Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA – In a culmination of five years of community studies, focus groups and fundraising, Pottawattamie Arts, Culture and Entertainment (PACE) broke ground today on a nearly $27 million, 95,000 square foot arts and culture center. The facility will bear the name of lead donors and Council Bluffs residents Ted and Polly Hoff.

Renovation and construction will take approximately 18 months with a move-in date of late 2019. When completed, the American Midwest Ballet (formerly Ballet Nebraska), Chanticleer Theater and the Kanesville Symphony will call the Bob and Polina Schlott Performing Arts Center home. The Kitchen Council, a food incubator startup currently housed near the Mid-America Center, will relocate to the building as well.

“We are grateful to all of our supporters who have made this day a reality, and we are so excited that we felt it was fitting to have Chanticleer performers literally ‘Dancing in the Street,’ said PACE CEO, Danna Kehm. “It officially marks the beginning of a new era for arts and culture in our community.”

With a mission to showcase Council Bluffs’ history, provide high-quality performance space, and strengthen arts education offerings, PACE is an initiative spearheaded by the Iowa West Foundation, which contributed $9 million in capital campaign funding and operating costs to the cause.

“We firmly believe the PACE organization and the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center will be transformational for Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County,” said Pete Tulipana, President and CEO of IWF. “We seek to create a place where families want to live and businesses want to locate because of the quality of life and standard of living. This project certainly moves the needle toward that vision.”

Included in the new construction of the performance center are:

  • a 280-seat community theater
  • rehearsal space
  • dressing rooms
  • green room
  • scene shop

Renovation of the currently vacant, historic Harvester II building includes:

  • Garden Level: Museum, theatre, ballet storage, and archival space
  • Floor 1: Rental venue, box office, exhibit space, café/bar, and public lobby
  • Floor 2: Food incubator, ballet dressing rooms, meetings rooms, and shared offices
  • Floor 3: Flexible classrooms, pottery studio, internet lounge, and artist studios
  • Floor 4: Permanent exhibit space including a Grant Wood exhibit, traveling exhibit space, and archival space

In addition to the lead donations, PACE also received a $1 million grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Enhance Iowa fund, as well as a designation of the South Main Street area as a “Great Place” coupled with a $400,000 grant award. Both are the maximum amounts possible for state-level funding.

“Our local lead donors’ gifts, as well as the large contributions from Iowa West and other metro area foundations, played a pivotal role in making the project attractive to state agencies,” said Judy Davis, who served as PACE’s Campaign Director. “We’re grateful for their support of an arts and culture center that will benefit all of southwest Iowa.”

Originally organized as the Bluffs Arts Council, PACE now provides a centralized structure for fund development, marketing, accounting, archives, ticket sales, and volunteer databases for its partners, thus elevating the structure and function of the arts in the community. The nonprofit also has a growing list of accomplishments in its short-time since becoming PACE, including the recent UN Sculpture public art project.

Shaped like map pins, 10 life-size UN sculptures were designed by local artists and community groups to illustrate how Council Bluffs is  “Unlike anywhere else. On purpose.” They were revealed during Celebrate CB week and will find semi-permanent homes throughout the city in the coming months.

The community fundraising phase of the capital campaign is ongoing. To make a donation to PACE and the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center, individuals can visit PACE is also inviting patrons to “take your seat” in the Polina & Bob Schlott Performing Arts Center. A $1,000 tax-deductible donation to the PACE Seat Naming Campaign will leave a legacy for loved ones, celebrate a special day, or honor your club or business. This donation will be a continual reminder of your generous support of the arts in the region for years to come.


Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE) is a 35-year-old organization, originally organized as the Bluffs Arts Council, with a mission to promote Council Bluffs as a center for excellence in the arts. Today, its focus is on a strategic approach to arts programming within the community, partnering with the Chanticleer Theater, American Midwest Ballet and the Kanesville Symphony in transforming the historic Harvester II building in the Haymarket District of Council Bluffs into a center for arts and culture in Pottawattamie County. For more information visit

About the Iowa West Foundation

The Iowa West Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the Midwest. It has distributed more than $425 million in grants and initiatives to nonprofits and governmental agencies through southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska since the inception of its grant program in 1996. Funding for the grants comes from investment earnings and the Iowa West Racing Association, which receives contractual fees from casino operators, Ameristar and Harrah’s. IWRA is the license sponsor for Ameristar and Harrah’s and the license holder for Horseshoe-Bluffs Run.


“PACE has brought the arts community together and made it more accessible. We’re hoping our gift will serve as a magnet that will bring in more collaboration and participation. By PACE becoming strong, arts and culture will become stronger.”
-Ted Hoff, lead donor

“Council Bluffs is a wonderful community to call home and this PACE initiative that brings the Hoff Family Arts and Culture Center to fruition will result in Council Bluffs becoming an even more attractive community. The enlightened perspective on the value of arts and cultural engagements that has resulted in this initiative is a genuine tribute to our community leaders who have worked to develop a vision for an arts center and make this vision a reality. We’re grateful for the opportunity to support this effort as it will strengthen the value of Council Bluffs as a place where families choose to live and visit.”
-Bob Schlott, lead donor

“The new arts center will provide a state-of-the-art facility that will allow the ballet to consolidate its rehearsal, costume and scenic construction, and administrative functions under one roof. All of these improvements will help us be more efficient and productive. They will let us concentrate even more of our energy on our primary mission: bringing high-quality ballet to the region.”
-Erika Overturff, Founder, Artistic Director and CEO of American Midwest Ballet

“Our current building has served us well, but to have a facility that will allow us more space and beautiful atmosphere in which to perform is so very exciting. We are so thankful for the generous donations and support of the arts. The new building will allow us to provide more education, present more productions, and present to larger audiences.”
-Denise Putman, President of Chanticleer Theater

“Kanesville Symphony is excited to see that PACE is breaking ground on the Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center. We are so grateful that soon we will be able to call it home, so we can continue to provide learning experiences for children and adults that build and maintain the appreciation of music with all generations.”
– Larry Britton, Kanesville Symphony Member

“I grew up doing shows at Chanticleer and I am so grateful for all the experiences and life-long friends I made there. Now that I have a little one on the way I am so excited that he will be able to have similar experiences, but in a new, beautiful and safe theater.”
Ariel Ibsen-Bauer, Patron

Media Inquiries:

Nicole Lindquist
Director of Communications
w: 712-309-3004
c: 402-981-2289

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its quality of life and standard of living.


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