History

The Center for the Visual Arts (CVA) is one of the leading cultural institutions in Central Wisconsin, with four professional gallery spaces featuring seventeen exhibits annually, a reputable school of art, and a juried gallery shop. The CVA was founded and incorporated in 1982 by a group of community members and artists who wanted to promote creativity, and enhance the education and appreciation of the visual arts in Wausau. The CVA continues its commitment to fulfilling its mission to engage people in the visual arts and add to the livability of the Wausau regional community.

The CVA began in artists’ homes, moving to the First Presbyterian Church on Grant Street, Wausau Lakeside Plywood, The Crooks’ Law Firm Library, and the Wausau Conservatory of Music before setting up shop in 1990 at the present location in downtown Wausau on the 400 Block.

In 2002, the Grand Theater Foundation completed a major fund drive to remodel the Grand Theater and created a new space between the theater and the CVA historic building. The addition resulted in a two premier exhibition spaces - the Caroline S. Mark Gallery and the Loft Gallery.

In 2015, the Grand Theater Foundation under took a capital campaign to renovate the CVA historic building. This gave major and much needed updates to the Studio Room, Pottery Studio, and created the Vault and Skylight Galleries.

Since these changes the CVA has embraced the newly renovated spaces, moved our gift shop to the Third Street Lifestyle Center in Washington Square, and continues to develop the artists of tomorrow through a wide variety of educational classes. Striving to reach out to more people in our community, the CVA frequently collaborates with other community organizations, such as the Marathon County Historical Society, Women’s Community, Wausau Events, and Wisconsin Valley Art Association, and more.

The CVA has also been the recipients of the Small Non-Profit Business of the Year Awards from the Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and the City Pages ‘Best Of…’ Local Arts Organization Award in 2017.