> Home > Things To Do > Arts & Entertainment > Arts and Culture Center

Arts and Culture Center

New Arts & Culture Center in Auburn's Downtown!

In August 2016 the City of Auburn finalized the purchase of the original Auburn Post Office/Former King County Public Health Building, an 8,000 sq. ft. historic building in Auburn's downtown.
In the Fall of 2016, the City conducted a series of open houses, group conversations, and an online survey to seek community input for transforming this historic landmark into an active space for Arts & Culture.

The input is helping to shape future programming to include spaces for creativity such as classrooms, studios, rehearsal spaces, display areas, and opportunities for our diverse communities to gather, learn, create, and share.

The new Arts & Culture Center, adjacent to the Auburn Avenue Theater will become a hub of activity for the downtown area and serve Auburn and the South Sound with unique access to quality arts opportunities.


Funding Opportunities & Strategies

The building purchase was made possible with funding by the City of Auburn. A portion of the overall renovation is funded through a $200,000 Building for Culture grant – a joint effort of 4Culture, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and King County Council in 2015. In addition to this grant, the City has received a $10,000 4Culture Preservation Special Project grant to go toward design documents.

At the end of 2016, City staff worked with PARC Resources and Johnston Architects, PLLC to outline funding opportunities and strategies, prepare initial cost estimates and phasing options, and create initial design schematics. The contents of that study will be used as the City moves forward with grant applications and other funding opportunities to assist with renovation costs of the 8,000 sq. ft. building, which is estimated to be $3 million. Recent competitive grant submissions have included a 4Culture Arts & Heritage Facilities grant request of $150,000 and an ArtPlace grant request of $480,000. Both are competitive grant applications.

Renovation is proposed in two phases:

  • Phase One Main Floor Remodeling (estimated cost $1.5 million):
    Lobby & Gathering area; Gallery Spaces; Classroom Space; Visiting Artist Studio; Café/Concession; Bathroom; Office Area; & building-wide mechanical/electrical systems
  • Phase Two Basement Remodeling (estimated cost $1.4 million):
    Flexible spaces for art-making activities; rehearsal space; classroom areas

Project Timeline (estimate):

  • Building Purchase (August 2016)
  • Community Outreach & Input (September-November 2016)
  • Initial Design Schematics and Overall Cost Estimates (December 2016)
  • Fundraising and grant writing efforts (ongoing)
  • Phase One Renovations (Late Fall 2017-2018)
  • Phase One Grand opening (End of 2018)
  • Phase Two Renovations (January 2019-Spring 2020)
Historic Photos:
Current photos of lobby area:
Vision of Remodeled Interior
 Interior Rendering

Press Releases, News Articles and Additional Information

The building, located at 20 Auburn Avenue NE, was built in 1937 as a Post Office constructed under the national work relief program sponsored by the Public Works Administration. The land for the post office was offered by Levi Ballard, an early Auburn citizen and the town's first postmaster in 1886. In 1964, the building was purchased by the King County Department of Public Health, remodeled and used as a health clinic. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Vacant since 2009, the City purchased the building from King County in 2016 with the intent to have this building again be a community asset and transform it into a vibrant Arts & Culture Center. Additional information on the building and history of the building (PDF).

November 28, 2015: Announcing Recipients for Building for Culture Initiativelinks to external site  

Auburn Reporter: 
December 3, 2015: City, Museum Benefit from County Grantslinks to external site
Jan 21, 2016: City to Vote on Purchase of Public Health Buildinglinks to external site
Jan 28, 2016: City Agrees to Buy Public Health Buildinglinks to external site
July 6, 2016: County Agrees to Sell Auburn Health Cliniclinks to external site
September 29, 2016: Artists Embrace historic building as new homelinks to external site
March 9, 2017: Planners working out details on new arts and culture centerlinks to external site

arts  & culture wish list