Wayne Center for the Arts’ mission is “Enriching Lives and Strengthening Communities Through Art.” Wayne Center for the Arts (WCA) furthers this mission by meeting 4 Strategic Pillars:
1. Increase Arts Access by Removing Real and Perceived Barriers to Art;
2. Provide High Quality Arts Education;
3. Improve the Quality of Life for Members of the Community Through Art;
4. Contribute to Economic Development in the Community through Special Events and Leadership in the Downtown Arts District.
The Wayne Center for the Arts (WCA), established in 1973, is the oldest and most comprehensive visual and performing arts organization in the area. Initially located on The College of Wooster campus as the Wooster Arts Center, it provided arts experiences to Wooster, Ohio residents. In 1983, the organization moved to the renovated Walnut Street School in downtown Wooster, thanks to the support of the Rubbermaid Foundation. This new location prompted a name change to Wayne Center for the Arts to better reflect its community.
WCA offers diverse programming in various artistic mediums and manages two community art galleries. Recently, its auditorium underwent renovations to host performances. Governed by a 15-member board, the center has a dedicated full-time staff of seven individuals and employs 30 contracted and part-time instructors. Department coordinators oversee dance, visual arts, pottery, digital arts, and music.
A notable aspect of WCA is its commitment to removing barriers to art access for community members. In 2019, it established the Community Outreach Program, which partners with organizations addressing mental health, addiction, and at-risk youth. Through long-term programming such as art classes and workshops, WCA emphasizes the healing and developmental benefits of creative expression.
In 2020, the Wayne Center for the Arts co-sponsored the College of Wooster’s Applied Methods and Research Experience (AMRE) program to conduct research on the feasibility of an arts and culture district in Wooster, Ohio. The report highlighted the economic impact and potential for collaboration. It also indicated that an arts and culture district would attract various demographic groups, increasing foot traffic in the downtown area. Wayne Center for the Arts has been a leader in establishing the Arts District Council and promoting the proposed Downtown Wooster Arts District.
In 2023, WCA finalized its latest Strategic Plan which designates 4 Strategic Pillars for WCA’s focus.