The WCR Center for the Arts, located at 140 N. Fifth Street, celebrated the completion of its long-awaited accessibility project on Thursday, May 4, 2023. The corresponding capital campaign kicked off in October 2022, and to date, has raised over $100,000. Ahead of its 20th anniversary in 2024, it is essential to the organization and Board of Directors to provide to the community improved accessibility into the historic venue.
Jayme Rhoads, President, Board of Directors shares, “We are so excited that we are now a fully handicap accessible venue. The installation of the lift will allow us to partner with other organizations, create more programming, and fully open our doors to the Downtown Reading Arts Community and beyond.”
Rhoads, the WCR Board of Directors and community partners celebrated the accomplishment by welcoming the John Paul II Center Tone Chime Choir to perform on stage – a performance that would not have been possible prior to the accessibility project.
The WCR has received major project-related gifts from the Presser Foundation, the Holleran Donor-Advised Fund of Berks County Community Foundation, Customers Bank, the Marlin Miller Foundation, Reading Elevator, and the International Union of Elevator Constructors, Local 5, ‘Lift for A Vet’ program.
The Woman’s Club of Reading was formed in 1896 and acquired the historic property at 140 North Fifth Street in the Callowhill Historic District of Reading in 1919. The leaders of the Woman’s Club then had a large auditorium constructed dedicated to the primary purpose of educating and enlightening their membership and the wider community. In fact, the building has been home to the ‘Friends of Chamber Music’ for over 50 years. Over several decades, membership declined and there was gradual deterioration of the building. In 2004, a group of community leaders came together to save the structure, which resulted in the creation of the WCR Center for the Arts. The mission of this non-profit is to preserve, revitalize, honor, and transform the facility as a center for cultural, social, and business events, with special focus on the performing arts. The WCR has showcased a wide variety of music, theater, educational and children’s programming, including our own ‘WCR Presents’ series of performances. It continues to expand its partnerships with other organizations to build even stronger relations to support the arts community.
For more information about the WCR Center for the Arts and campaign, please visit: www.wcrcenter.org