The corner of 8th and Lincoln, the location of W.O.W. Hall, has been a community gathering place since the days the city was founded Eugene Skinner. When Joseph Cullen Root founded Woodmen of The World fraternal organization in 1880 , he envisioned an organization who’s purpose was “to minister to the afflicted to relieve distress; to cast a sheltering arm about the defenseless living ;… to encourage broad charitable views…” The Eugene chapter provided health benefits, life insurance and burial costs while undertaking charitable and recreational activities for children and adults. Women participated through a sister organization, the Women of Woodcraft.
In 1975 it was learned that the Hall would soon be sold and possibly demolished. To keep the building available to the community, a group of concerned users, performers, neighbors and historical preservation enthusiasts organized the Community Center for the Performing Arts (CCPA), a nonprofit (501c3) corporation.
In 1996 the W.O.W. Hall was officially designated a historic landmark by the National Register of Historic Places. “No building has stronger connections to Eugene’s yeasty culture,” noted the Register-Guard.
The CCPA is dedicated to providing a safe and friendly meeting place for the community, a place for appreciation of the arts for all ages and income levels, and a training ground for new generations. The organization prides itself on the diversity of local, regional, national and international performing artists. The Hall is also used for classes, workshops, workouts, meetings, rehearsals and recording sessions. The Lobby Art Gallery displays the work of a different regional artist each month. The CCPA runs on volunteer energy and volunteer training is provided monthly. Volunteers develop job skills while demonstrating dependability, punctuality and the ability to work as part of a team. The CCPA has involved thousands of volunteers, about half area teenagers. The CCPA is committed to providing arts for all ages. In a community that needs more recreational opportunities for youth, the CCPA not only provides a space for young adults, teenagers and kids to enjoy live concerts, it actively involves youth in planning, promoting, performing at and staffing shows.