James and Miriam Mulva and the Mulva Family Foundation have announced a $50 million commitment in support of a new cultural center in downtown De Pere, Wisconsin.
Initially conceived in late 2015 as a $7 million project, the Mulva Cultural Center is now envisioned as a three-story, 60,000-square-foot glass building featuring exhibit and performance spaces, an open-air atrium, classrooms, an outdoor terrace, and a veterans' memorial. The gift from the Mulvas, who sit on the center's board, will fund the design, construction, maintenance, and operations of the center, which is scheduled to open in 2022.
Part of the city's Cultural District Master Plan, the center's one-and-a-half-acre site — a vacant lot to be donated by the city — will serve as a connector between the riverfront and De Pere's historic downtown district. James Mulva, former chair and CEO of ConocoPhillips, and his wife also have pledged support for the renovation and expansion of the De Pere Historical Society's White Pillars Museum, which planners had considered housing in the cultural center before deciding that the two projects would have greater impact bookending the north and south ends of the city's historic Broadway artery.
"It's gratifying to know an updated White Pillars Museum and the new Mulva Cultural Center will serve as north-south bookends to De Pere's enhanced cultural district," said Mulva. "Just think of the wonderful strolling experience visitors and residents will be able to have in the near future."
"We envision the Mulva Cultural Center to be a premier cultural attraction with world-class traveling exhibits typically seen in major metropolitan areas in the United States," said Miriam Mulva, who, like her husband, grew up in De Pere. "By bringing these vibrant, cultural experiences to northeast Wisconsin, we have a golden opportunity to engage, inspire, and transform our community as well as the visitors to our community — today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. Further, we expect this to be a catalyst for further economic development for De Pere."
(Image credit: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP)