Fall brings changes for gallery, theater

First Friday this week marks the opening of the Columbia Art Gallery in its new temporary space at Fourth and Cascade streets. The gallery moved out of its former home at 207 Second St. after losing its lease and will be housed in its new location, next to the Crazy Pepper restaurant, until it moves into the yet-to-be-renovated Columbia Center for the Arts along with CAST, Hood River’s community theater.

In the meantime, the gallery will continue to host monthly shows highlighting Columbia Gorge artists.

The new Columbia Center for the Arts, located at 215 Cascade Ave., will open sometime in 2005, according to Judie Hanel, director.

While the gallery is settling in to its new temporary digs, the CAST theatre will be packing up its belongings soon after the final show of “The Cherry Orchard” this weekend. CAST’s lease of the theatre space at 105 Fourth St. ends in December. The theatre company will store its props, costumes and other stage items at the Columbia Center for the Arts and perform shows at various venues.

“We’ll be on the road,” said Hanel, founding member of CAST, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Before moving into the Performing Arts Center 10 years ago, CAST put on performances at venues like Hood River Valley High School, Hood River Middle School and Full Sail Brewery.

“You can put on a production anywhere,” Hanel said. “We’re sort of going back full circle.”

The Columbia Center for the Arts is well on its way to reality. The center must raise about $900,000 to purchase the building at 215 Cascade — former home of the American Legion — from a private party who is holding it and complete renovations. Hanel says $245,000 has been raised in the community so far. The goal is to raise about half the total within the community, with the other half coming from grants and other sources.

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