Portage Center for the Arts, Inc. was established in 1986, an outgrowth of PACT (Portage Area Community Theatre). In 1987, our building at 301 E. Cook Street in Portage was purchased, and on October 31 of that year, we celebrated the grand opening of the Zona Gale Center!
In 2003, in an effort to distinguish ourselves from Zona Gale's home (Museum at the Portage), we changed our name to Portage Center for the Arts, however, we still honor our famous Portage daughter with our 279 seat Zona Gale Theatre.
Our mission is to promote and foster the arts by providing a community venue and programming for the visual arts, performing arts, and arts education. PCA seeks to achieve its mission by developing alliances between itself and arts educators, artists, children, youth, and supporters of the arts.
In 1854, according to the Portage Presbyterian Church in Portage, a committee, along with Rev. William Wynkoop McNair, made plans for a "new" church. This brick edifice was built in 1855 on the northeast corner of Adams and Cook Streets at a cost of $13,000, and was dedicated in February 1856.
According to Portage: A Sesquicentennial History (p. 39) by Michael J. Goc, the steeple was toppled by a storm in 1871. In May 1892, fire damaged the interior and the congregation sold the damaged building to the Baptists, who renovated it and, according to Portage: A Sesquicentennial History (p. 154), enlarged the church building. Fire struck again in 1893, this time gutting the interior, and repairs were completed that year. Another interesting note from Portage: A Sesquicentennial History (p. 154): in 1904, the Baptist congregation began to build a parsonage and while excavating the basement, they unearthed part of the old Catholic cemetery, including the coffin of pioneer Pierre Pauquette.
The Baptist congregation used the church until 1938, when it was sold to the Assembly of God Congregation. In 1986, the Portage Center for the Arts, Inc. was established and purchased the building, renovating it for use as an Arts Center.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Melody Brooks Taylor