Washington Pavilion To Celebrate 20th Anniversary

June 1, 2019 will commemorate a twenty-year milestone for the Washington Pavilion. The Washington Pavilion, formerly Washington High School, began operations on June 1, 1999, after a multi-year transformation and renovation project.

The journey began with the Washington High School closing in 1992. It was one of the largest public school buildings in the nation and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Sioux Falls City Commission appointed the Washington Pavilion Advisory Board who recommended turning the school into the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science.

On October 19, 1993, voters in Sioux Falls approved issuing sales tax revenue bonds of up to $33 million for a convention center and the Washington Pavilion to be financed by an entertainment tax. The vote passed 51% versus 49%. Dan Kirby, a founding Washington Pavilion Board of Trustees member and champion for the project, on that day in October 1993, said: "The future called, and today Sioux Falls answered."

Over the next six years, numerous individuals and organizations worked tirelessly to revamp the former high school into the multi-faceted arts, science and cultural institution it is today.

The building, operated by Washington Pavilion Management, Inc, opened to the public on June 1, 1999 comprised of the Kirby Science Discovery Center, Visual Arts Center - previously the Civic Fine Arts Center, the Wells Fargo CineDome and the Husby Performing Arts Center. In its first year, the Washington Pavilion welcomed over 350,000 visitors from around the region and beyond.


The Washington Pavilion continues to be the region's home for the arts, entertainment and science. Located in a beautifully renovated historic building in downtown Sioux Falls, it is one of only a few facilities in the world to bring together under one roof the performing arts, visual arts and interactive science.

Mission: To inspire, educate, entertain and enrich our region by creating opportunities for all to explore and experience the arts and science.

Vision: To be the region's premier arts and science destination, inspiring lifelong discovery and inclusive experiences.

In 2018, the Washington Pavilion welcomed over 400,000 patrons through its doors with more than 90,000 visiting the Kirby Science Discovery Center. Over 34,000 served through the organization's educational programs. The Visual Arts Center's permanent collection is comprised of more than 1,600 pieces of artwork.

Through the 20 years of operation, the non-profit has received almost $26 million in contributions. From 1999-2018, the organization has an economic development impact of over $275 million. In this same time frame, more than 2.9 million people have seen a show, attended a conference or other event at the Washington Pavilion.

To celebrate its proud history, thank the community for its ongoing support, and build excitement for a bright future, the organization is pleased to announce a month-long line-up of activities and events to celebrate this 20th year milestone.

"After twenty years, the Washington Pavilion has never been stronger than it is today. Our memberships, our visits, our subscriptions, programming and financials - they have never been stronger," said Darrin Smith, Washington Pavilion President & CEO. "Please join us for the festivities, it's sure to be a fun-filled month!"

Schedule of Events

20th Anniversary Celebration - June 1, 2019

Day-long festival of fun, activities and entertaining events:

Museums open free of charge 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Special, free activities and programming for youth and families throughout the day:

Children's activities, arts and crafts, games, inflatables, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Face-painting: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Free movies in the Wells Fargo CineDome

Food trucks and concessions throughout the day

Birthday cupcake giveaway

Radley Rex mascot appearances

Live entertainment throughout the day, and evening street dance:

On stage between 1-5 p.m.

Youth theater productions

"Danger Committee" entertainment - knife throwing and juggling act from "America's Got Talent"

DJ Jer

On stage after 5 p.m.


OK, Parade


Free First Friday - June 7, 2019

Free admission to the Kirby Science Discovery Center and Visual Arts Center, 5-8 p.m.

Hands-on art projects, scavenger hunts and prizes available for families.

Steve Martin & Martin Short - June 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m.

Ticketed event, one performance.

LES MISERABLES - June 12-16, 2019

Ticketed events, seven performances - evening and afternoon matinee options.

Retro Day - June 22, 2019

The Washington Pavilion will 'throwback' to June 1, 1999 with 1999 pricing all day.

For more information visit the Washington Pavilion Box Office at 301 S. Main Avenue, call the Box Office at (605) 367-6000 or go online at washingtonpavilion.org.

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