As our Company and School & Academy continued to grow, it became more apparent that we needed a bigger facility to fully serve the needs of our students, artists and the community we call home. We began to imagine a building with the increased space and technological upgrades to take our organization to the next level; a gathering place for dancers and dance lovers from across Milwaukee, the nation and the world. Through hard work, detailed planning and perseverance, this vision became the Baumgartner Center for Dance.
We purchased the land from the Italian Community Center, who desired to sell to a community partner with strong family values to match their own.
Meanwhile, longtime supporters Donna and Donald Baumgartner, Sue and Allan ‘Bud’ Selig, and Justin Mortara came on board as the capital campaign chairs.
We recruited celebrated architect Jim Shields (HGA Architects) to design the new facility and Catalyst Construction to build the facility.
We broke ground on our new home on June 5, 2018 in a ceremony that included words from County Executive Chris Abele, Artistic Director Michael Pink, City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux, Board Chair Justin Mortara as well as Donna and Donald Baumgartner. It was here we announced our new home would carry the name of our longtime supporters and co-chairs of the capital campaign, christening it the Baumgartner Center for Dance.
Construction began in Milwaukee’s Third Ward with a goal of completion to open in alignment with the kick-off of our 50th Anniversary Season in September 2019.
Beam signings are held to bestow good luck upon the construction of a new building. This tradition dates back to ancient practice of placing a tree atop a new building to pay homage to the spirits displaced during its construction. We upheld this tradition mid-September 2018 when our Board of Directors, staff, artists and faculty were invited to sign the last beam that would go into the facility.