LA GRANDE — In an effort to expand access to its second floor, Art Center East continues to conduct a capital campaign to install an ADA accessible lift.

The project will cost an estimated $300,000. Thus far, the community has contributed $20,000 and the city of La Grande has committed a $50,000 match. Local engineers, architects and contractors have provided advice and estimates pro bono.

Grants include $24,441 from the Oregon Cultural Trust and $10,000 from the Union Pacific Foundation.

“These numbers indicate strong support locally for ACE programs and mission to inspire, enrich and interlace Eastern Oregon communities through creative expression,” said Abigail Shown, ACE development coordinator.

ACE has set a goal of raising $50,000 locally, and staff is pursuing grant opportunities to fund the remaining balance.

ACE, 1006 Penn Ave., is inside the 1913 Carnegie Library building. Following a 2018 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) assessment and a community survey in which 95% of respondents indicated support for adding an elevator or lift to the ACE facility, the organization began to collect resources for construction.

ACE in the community

Yearly support of Art Center East isn’t always in the monetary form — according to Shown, in the past year 87 volunteers donated more than 1,000 hours.

ACE’s membership numbers 1,300 with 193 new in 2022.

Every year, the center sees approximately 20,000 visitors and about 30,000 visit the website to find information about classes, events and art shows.

And speaking about classes — ACE offers more than 500 every year and has a roster of 63 teaching artists. Each class averages five to 10 students.

“Through programs such as youth arts classes, Artists in Rural Schools, outreach booths and activities, Community Music Ensembles and more, we reach an average of 2,571 local youth every year,” Shown said.

ACE’s gift gallery features 48 artists, and the center presents 12 exhibits each year.

How to donate

ACE has several ways to donate in support of this capital campaign.

One is through GoFundMe. To use this avenue, go to and search for “Give the Arts a Lift.”

Another option is to donate by check, with “Capital Campaign” in the memo. Donations can be mailed to ACE, PO Box 541 La Grande, OR 97850, or dropped off at the center, 1006 Penn Ave.

For more information, call 541-624-2800 or go online to

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