Frequently Asked Questions

What role does the Foundation play now that the Center is built?

The Foundation is responsible for raising money from the community to support the Performing Arts Center.

The Foundation exists today to act as the community steward in the raising and responsible spending of private funds to ensure the ongoing operation and long-term success of the Center. Each year the Foundation contributes 1/6 of the Center’s total contributed revenue (over $350,000 in FY2019). The City of San Luis Obispo also provides 1/6 and Cal Poly University contributes the remaining 2/3. These funds support all aspects of the Center’s operations and ensure, among other things, that rental rates are affordable for local nonprofit organizations, that ticket prices are affordable for patrons, and that the Center remains in “as-new” condition as specified in the operating agreement. In addition to providing annual operating support, the Foundation is committed to building an endowment (currently valued at just under $8 MM to secure the Center’s future for generations to come and to raising capital funds for facility improvements and the purchase of major pieces of equipment.

Do ticket sales alone support the Performing Arts Center?

No. Ninety-percent of each ticket purchased directly supports the presenting organization, not the Performing Arts Center.

Actually, tickets sales have minimal impact on the financial well-being of the Center. When you purchase a ticket to a performance at the PAC, about 90 percent of your money directly supports the organization presenting that performance (i.e., Cal Poly Arts, SLO Symphony, Festival Mozaic, etc.). About 10 percent does go to the Performing Arts Center in the form of ticketing fees. Presenting organizations, in turn, pay a rental fee to use the Center.

Do rental fees alone support the Center?

No. Rental fees cover just a small percentage of the PAC’s annual expenses. In fact, all of the PAC’s earned revenue combined (rental fees, ticketing fees, tech charges, etc.) cover just 45 percent of its expenses. The remaining 55 percent is contributed by individuals and businesses in our community (through the Foundation), the City of San Luis Obispo, and Cal Poly University. Furthermore, nonprofit presenters pay a deeply discounted rental fee to use the PAC, ensuring access for all.

How did the three-way partnership between the City, the University and the Foundation come to be?

The Foundation was established in 1986 to represent community interests and to raise funds from the private sector for a performing arts center. That same year the Foundation, the City of SLO, and Cal Poly University forged a one-of-a-kind partnership to accomplish what no single partner could have done alone. That partnership still thrives today, and through the Central Coast Performing Arts Center Commission (CCPACC), oversees all aspects of the Center.

What is the Center Circle and what exactly does it support?

The Center Circle is the Foundation’s annual giving program. Gifts made to the Center Circle by individuals, foundations and businesses support the annual operations of both the Performing Arts Center and the Foundation. Annual contributors of $1 – $499 are referred to as Friends of the Center Circle. Annual contributors of $500 and above become members of the Center Circle and receive an array of benefits and privileges based on their giving level. It is this community support that allows the Foundation to make its annual contribution to the PAC as well as to fulfill its other responsibilities, including working closely with donors, representing the community’s interests to the Commission, raising money for the purchase of equipment and special projects, and building an endowment to secure the Center’s future for generations to come.

What is the PAC's official name?

The PAC’s official name is the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo.

What makes up the Performing Arts Center?

The Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo includes the 1,289-seat Harold Miossi Hall, the 494-seat Spanos Theater, a multi-purpose venue called the Pavilion, and a 180-seat recital hall.

What goes on at the PAC?

The PAC hosts preeminent international and national performers as well as our own talented local performing arts groups. In total, it is home to more than 300 performances and events each year and more than 25 local nonprofit cultural and educational organizations from our region alone use the Center to present a wide variety of performances.

Is there a youth component to all of this?

Yes. PAC Outreach provides invaluable opportunities for local K-12 students to engage as audience members, performers, and discoverers of the performing arts in the context of a world-class facility. Outreach programs for youth include:

School Matinee Performances allow students, teachers and parents the opportunity to attend professional performing arts events at the Center during the school day. Adapted for school children of all ages, school matinees are held throughout the school year and are generally 50-60 minutes in length. Thanks to the community sponsorship through the Foundation, all school matinee performances are free for students.

Young Artists Onstage allows organizations with school-age performers the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facility at a significantly reduced rental rate, saving thousands of dollars and giving students the extraordinary experience of performing in a world-class performance hall.

In the 2018-19 season, 10,500 students attended School Matinee performances and over 6,000 children performed on stage in Harold Miossi Hall.

PAC Construction Facts

A few fun facts about the creation of the PAC.

  • Construction start date: March 1994
  • Grand Opening: September 1996
  • Construction cost: $30 million
  • Partnership and Funding: Cal Poly State University, the City of San Luis Obispo and the Foundation for the Performing Arts
  • Center provided funds for the construction of the Center and continue to support its operating costs.
  • Location: 1 Grand Avenue, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, California 93407
  • Project Architects: Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) and John Carl Warnecke & Associates, Los Angeles
  • Original Design: Arthur Erickson Architects, Alberto Bertoli
  • Acoustic Consultants: R. Lawrence Kirkegaard & Associates
  • Construction firm: Centex Golden Construction Company, San Diego