Thyen-Clark Cultural Center

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Jasper Community Arts and the Jasper Public Library both began talks of expansion in the early 2000s. Both organizations were looking for additional space to provide and expand the programs they offered. The Library looked into several properties over the years, but for one reason or another nothing stuck. In 2006 JCA had plans to expand at the Jasper Arts Center by adding workshop spaces, galleries, additional restrooms, and dressing rooms. The economic downturn in 2008 forced these plans to be scrapped. Both organizations continued to make do with their facilities in hopes that there would be an opportunity to expand at some point.

In December of 2013, the City of Jasper released its Downtown + Riverfront Master Plan. Part of that plan targeted the redevelopment of former industrial properties. One of those properties was the Hoosier Desk Factory. In December of 2014, the Jasper Public Library and Jasper Community Arts staff and board members toured the Hoosier Desk site and both groups saw potential in the property.

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Former Hoosier Desk site.

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In 2015 Jim and Pat Thyen issued a matching grant challenge to the community, and the Jasper LEADs (Library Enrichment Education Downtown) was established. The purpose of LEADs was to raise money for: remodeling the Astra Theatre, located in Downtown Jasper; provide the necessary updates to the Jasper Arts Center; and build a new cultural center to house the Jasper Public Library and Jasper Community Arts.

In the fall of 2015, the Library decided they wanted to pursue building at the Hoosier Desk site and filed a referendum to be proposed for the 2016 election. The City of Jasper committed funding for its portion of the project. In 2016, both organizations sought to inform the public on what the proposed new building would house and how it would function. The referendum passed and then the real work began as to how two government entities, and at the time a private partnership, would function. The private partnership plan included apartments above the Arts portion of the building. The additional apartments that were added throughout Jasper, led to the private partnership dissolving. 

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From left to right: Former Mayor Terry Seitz, Mayor Dean Vonderheide, Pat & Jim Thyen. 

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In July of 2017 demolition of the Hoosier Desk Factory began. Demolition and site stabilization was completed and construction began in April 2019. The Thyen-Clark Cultural Center, named for Jim and Pat (Clark) Thyen was completed and opened to the public in January of 2021. 

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Black Box Theatre