A New Performing Arts Center Debuts in Beaverton

The Reser brings more arts and culture to the SW

Sponsored Content presented by Patricia Reser Center for the Arts

In March, the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts will open its doors to the public, a culmination of a longtime labor of love for Beaverton residents. This comes as trendy new establishments like Loyal Legion and Afuri Izakaya are taking up residence along the town’s “Restaurant Row,” a flourishing drinking and dining area that has helped revitalize downtown Beaverton.

The first performing arts center of its kind to be built in the Portland metro area in more than 30 years, The Reser is slated to turn Beaverton into a prominent entertainment destination in its own right, featuring artists and performers from all corners of the world. “This project has been a dream of many for over 20 years,” says Chris Ayzoukian, The Reser’s Executive Director. “We started as a grassroots effort among local residents who were really excited about bringing more access to the arts on the West Side. Look at how much Beaverton is growing.”

Named after Pat Reser, The Reser was a $55 million project that came to be as a result of both public and private dollars. Half the funding came from Beaverton’s hotel tax and half from private donors, including Reser herself. “The one major takeaway is the beauty of both sides coming together—the public sector and the private sector—to create something that’s really larger than the sum of its parts,” explains Ayzoukian. “It’s a really amazing model of public-private partnership.”

Located near The Round in Beaverton’s Central District, the facility will include a 550-seat Mainstage Theater, an art gallery featuring Pacific Northwest artists, dedicated spaces for rehearsals, workshops, and meetings, as well as a lobby and outdoor plaza. The Reser, which sits alongside Beaverton Creek, was designed in a way that juxtaposes both the urban landscape surrounding it and the natural setting inspired by the town’s namesake waterway. The overall vibe is meant to feel as if one has stepped inside a giant beaver dam, with wooden panels lining the walls and ceiling. Large glass windows look towards the Creek, where ducks can be seen bobbing in the water. “The interior is beautiful. I can’t wait for people to see it,” exclaims Ayzoukian. “We have 21,000 square feet of Douglas fir throughout the facility. When you enter, you feel like you’re in another world—it really opens up your mind and prepares you for what’s to come. The architects at Opsis did a wonderful job of creating this airy, inviting space with lots of open views into the surrounding community.”

While the pandemic slowed construction in March 2020, Ayzoukian says it was an opportunity to make some changes to the building to accommodate Covid protocols. “This is, unfortunately, not the last pandemic. So, we took a step back while the construction was still ongoing to improve the HVAC system and air infiltration. We also added touchless restroom doors. Of course, when we open in March, we will follow the strictest guidelines to keep everyone safe. Keeping our patrons safe is of the utmost importance,” he says.

The sixth largest city in Oregon, Beaverton is home to one of the most diverse populations in the state. As the largest performing arts center to grace the region in years, The Reser is a welcoming space for all art lovers, where performers and artists from all walks of life will have the opportunity to engage with an audience. “I’m very excited about a program we’re launching for regional nonprofits to utilize the Theater. We’ve come up with a scalable rental model for the space by renting the Mainstage Theater not for a flat rate but by a per-seat rental model, so that it’s scalable for organizations of all sizes to use and grow audiences here.”

The Center will feature not just local performers, but aims to have artists from all over the world take to the stage. “We want to make a space for artists and musicians from different cultures and ethnicities. Our first exhibit that will launch in March is an exhibition about Celilo Falls, a tribal fishing area on the Columbia River which was decommissioned in the 1950′s. The art gallery will feature local and Indigenous art work, and we will be tying it to the stage through a performance by the Portland Chamber Orchestra, which will perform a world premiere by composer Nancy Ives, Joe Cantrell and Ed Edmo.”

Ayzoukian is very excited about launching a series called The Reser Presents, which will bring award-winning artists and attractions from all over the world to the Theater. “We will bring the world to our stage and to our community, which features so many people from all parts of the globe. For the first week of performances , we’ll host an incredible vocal group from Zimbabwe called Nobuntu, who are coming to celebrate International Women’s Day with us on March 8. That will be our first public performance. That weekend, on March 12, we will welcome American Jazz institution the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra—but there’s a lot more to look forward to. We already have just about every night from our Grand Opening in March to mid-June booked with performers from all over the world, but also a stellar list of local arts organizations from right here in the Metro area.”

And on March 13, The Reser presents a free, day-long, family-friendly live music event Shine the Light: Community Celebration. This family day will include Reser tours, arts activities, and fantastic performances featuring many beloved local performers and organizations including iSing, Beaverton Civic Theater, The Bundy Band, Oregon Rhythmic Gymnastics & Dance Academy, and many more. The Beaverton Symphony Orchestra caps the day with a special concert to celebrate The Reser’s Grand Opening.

In addition to bringing a wider selection of art and culture to Beaverton, The Reser, which is set right in the center of the city’s nightlife hub, will also provide a boost for the area’s economy. “The project is a capstone as part of a larger initiative by our city to make Beaverton a destination for dining, arts, and entertainment,” continues Ayzoukian. After two years of construction, and decades of imagining, The Reser’s opening marks a unique, anticipatory moment for the city. “It’s a very exciting time. There’s such a rich tapestry of people from all over the world who live in Beaverton, and this Center will provide an outlet for cultural expression. I think The Reser will encourage people from around the state, and even around the country, to come check out what’s happening here.”

Learn more at thereser.org.