A world-class stage just 30 minutes away

Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts catches the eye of prestigious network


ANCIENT HISTORY: Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts in Menomonie was included in a recent CNN travel story as one of 15 most spectacular theaters in the world. Submitted

Story by Austin Mai, Staff Writer

The Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts in Menomonie was recently named one of 15 of the world’s most spectacular

CNN freelance writer Tamara Hinson said Mabel Tainter makes up for its small size with beautiful features in an article published April 23.

The list included the National Noh Theatre in Tokyo and the Salle Richelieu in Paris.

Executive director of the Dunn County Historical Society Matt Carter said locals take advantage of what they have in the community, but it’s still shocking Mabel Tainter was considered.

“There are hundreds of thousands of theaters in the world they could have chosen,” Carter said. “Anyone that’s been inside understands why they made that choice.”

Once inside the center, brass and oak trimmings hark to the Victorian era, and on stage, it’s easy to connect with the audience, said Aaron Durst, who holds a doctorate in saxophone performance and teaches at UW-Stout.

Durst has played and directed music at the center and said the performance heritage at the center is one of a kind.

“It’s certainly a great theater and a great performance space,” Durst said. “The building exudes a connection to
history and feels like you’re going through time.”

Durst said he hopes this acknowledgment will lead to more attendance at center events.

Carter said it makes sense that the list will directly lead to more interest in the center and theater.

“I know based on the number of people talking about the distinction, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the event attendance numbers skyrocket,” Carter said. “This might make everyone want to go see what CNN saw.”

Carter said the recognition could lead to more national attention. If other organizations compile similar lists, there’s no reason the center wouldn’t lead the pack, Carter said.

“The center is on the national register of historic places and that does give it some protection,” Carter said. “However, there’s always the chance that something could happen to it. Being on the register and the national recognition now should make it harder for change.”

This center was built in memorial of Mabel Tainter. She was young and loved music and the arts. She died in 1886 at the age of 19. Her parents, Captain and Mrs. Andrew Tainter, commissioned a memorial.