The Grand is the home base for the Wausau Area Performing Arts Foundation, Inc., a private nonprofit community arts organization established in 1972.
With a mission to promote excellence in the performing arts in North Central Wisconsin, the Performing Arts Foundation (P.A.F.) reaches over 150,000 people each year with performances and instructional programs.
With the grand opening of The Grand in 2002, the Performing Arts Foundation established a new energy in the Wausau area to fulfill its various roles:
- As a Presenter: The P.A.F. sponsors the Lively Arts Series of touring professional artists for community audiences; The Grand Entertainers, special performances of unusual prominence and quality; and the The Grand Student Matinee Series, professional arts events for school groups.
- As a Facility Manager: The P.A.F. maintains and operates The Grand, a combination of historic renovation and new construction in Wausau, Wisconsin. The center of The Grand is the historic Grand Theater, a focal point of Wausau's vital downtown area, and a venue for touring and community activities.
- As an Arts Education Resource: The P.A.F. manages Artists in the Schools, bringing regional artists into classrooms; sponsors The Grand Student Matinee Series; and (with Wausau Schools) is a member of the John F. Kennedy Center Partnership, training teachers to use arts-based techniques to enhance effectiveness across the curriculum.
- As a Local Arts Agency: The P.A.F. provides technical assistance to affiliates, local events, and community groups (including Central Wisconsin Educational Theater Alliance); addresses local issues; works with community agencies for our area's betterment; and is active in state and national consortia.
- As a Fundraiser: The P.A.F.'s annual Performing Arts Fund Drive generates the nation's highest per capita arts giving among communities with population under 180,000.
The Performing Arts Foundation fulfills its various goals in close partnership with participating affiliate organizations, who use The Grand as their creative home. These include Wausau Community Theater, Lyric Choir, and Symphony & Band; Central Wisconsin Ballet Foundation and Children's Theatre; and Allegro Regional Dance Theater. Wausau Conservatory of Music is an Allied Affiliate.
Service Region & National Connections
Since 1993, P.A.F. programs have served 17 counties: Clark, Forest, Juneau, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Portage, Price, Shawano, Taylor, Vilas, Waupaca, Waushara, and Wood.
The Performing Arts Foundation is an active member of Americans for the Arts/National Association of United Arts Fund Drives; Association of Performing Arts Presenters; Central Wausau Progress; John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/Performing Arts Centers & Schools Partnership Program (in collaboration with Wausau School District); Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce; Wisconsin Assembly of Local Arts Agencies/ArtsPeers Advisory Network; and the Wisconsin Presenters Network.
The programs and activities of the P.A.F. are supported in part by the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin; the City of Wausau; Wausau Area Community Foundation, Inc.; and contributors to the annual Performing Arts Fund Drive.