The vision for a performing arts center in Wenatchee began in 1919 with sketches from architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It became a reality in 1992 when Allied Arts formed a committee chaired by Judy Troy to survey local arts groups about their need for such a center. In 1994, the Wade-Rose building, which had housed the Thurman Company, became available and the Supporters of the Center was formed to raise money toward a performing arts center. An economic study was done and a fundraising campaign for four projects began. Those four included the addition of an exhibition hall by the City of Wenatchee to the existing Convention Center, a "black box" small theater, a children's museum and a performing arts theater. This initial drive raised pledges of 2.5 million, including 1 million from the late Bob Stanley. This led to the naming of the total project "The Stanley Civic Center" which currently includes the Bank of America Performing Arts Center, The Riverside Playhouse, and the Auvil Exhibition Hall.
In 1996, a properties study led the Supporters of the Center to move the Performing Arts Theatre to a site in front of the Convention Center. In the meantime, Music Theatre of Wenatchee built their 160 seat Riverside Playhouse at the original location and the Children's Discovery Museum occupied the rear of the warehouse building. A second funding campaign was launched in 1997, which raised another 1.5 million, plus a 3 million grant from the Arts Fund of the State of Washington. Construction began in early summer of 1998, with Leone & Keeble of Spokane as the general contractor. Principal contractors were Wells & Wade mechanical and Apple City Electric of Wenatchee. Architects were LMN Architects of Seattle, who designed Seattle's Benaroya Hall assisted by the PKJB firm of Wenatchee. The Wade-Rose building was sold to Quality Rentals, and Music Theatre of Wenatchee purchased their portion of the building. Children's Discovery Museum moved to a smaller and more manageable site on Kittitas Street, and unfortunately closed it's doors a year later.
The 490 seat Performing Arts Theater was named the "Bank of America Performing Arts Center" after the bank's predecessor Seafirst Bank had donated $250,000. The naming rights were given to the Bank of America for five years from the opening date.
The Bank of America Performing Arts Center at the Stanley Civic Center opened its doors to the public with a gala event on September 29, 2000. This event, called "A Showcase of Wenatchee's Best" did indeed showcase local talent from nine local performing arts groups and included a cast of over 100.
In 2006, the Supporters of the Center launched a 3-phase identity development and branding campaign. The first phase began with a name change to "The Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee," which is what the facility is currently known as.
A special thanks goes to the businesses and individuals whose contributions made construction of the Performing Arts Center possible.