Arts and Entertainment

Federal Way performing arts center moves closer to reality | Column

The performing arts and cultural center movement in Federal Way is one step closer to reality.

The Federal Way Coalition of the Performing Arts is scheduled to sign a contract with The Collins Group, the region’s leading consulting firm. They have extensive and successful experience conducting studies and complex campaigns, and have helped more than 450 regional nonprofit organizations raise more than $1.2 billion!

They will be undertaking a campaign feasibility study for the proposed 500-700 seat performance hall and cultural center in Federal Way, and will also help us to organize to create a fundraising campaign.

It was a great challenge to raise funds for The Collins Group fee for this project. We had only 90 days to raise $45,000, and because of their proposal time frame, they fell during summer months when our performing groups were not meeting and many local people were vacationing.

A core group of the fundraising committee decided not to publicly promote this, but to be selective and request donations primarily from our grass-roots group.

We had been meeting for well over a year. There wasn’t enough time to try to seek grants, which are not usually awarded for studies anyway. By the time we prepared donor request letters and developed our list of likely contributors, we had approximately 75 days to raise the fee so we could engage them.

By then, we knew it would be extremely difficult to raise the total amount by the deadline. The Federal Way Coalition of the Performing Arts, which had already indicated it would contribute $40,000 to the performance hall building fund, was asked to instead donate to The Collins Group fund, making up any difference not raised. In a special meeting, FWCPA board members voted to release funds as needed to supplement this campaign.

Even with the extremely limiting circumstances, we had contributions from many individuals as well as some of our coalition member performing groups, representing approximately 200 donors.

The fundraising committee, which has been meeting weekly for the past few months, met Sept. 23 with representatives of The Collins Group to begin the process. On Oct. 16, the whole grass-roots group, now called the Federal Way Performing Arts and Cultural Center Coalition, will hear from The Collins Group and learn the next steps, and what our participation will be over the next 17 weeks of their study. Anyone interested is welcome to attend. We will have several committees to eventually organize, and a variety of tasks to undertake.

We consider this Phase One — a very necessary first step toward our dream of a performance hall and cultural center in Federal Way.

We know the economy is in distress mode, but we can begin preparing for the campaign, and be ready to launch it when it improves. The Federal Way Coalition of the Performing Arts began working on this effort in 1989, so we are excited that our great patience and perseverance is finally seeing progress.

Check out our Web site at to learn more.

Federal Way resident Joann Piquette: (253) 839-4389 or

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