Yesterday was the final session of Art Sparks, an innovative pilot project serving those with memory loss and their care partners. The four-part session, led by artist LeeAnn Goerss, and funded by Central Minnesota Arts Board, provided an opportunity to demonstrate the ability of the arts to meet a community need. Dementia related illness affects an ever-growing segment of the population, and this program provided social interaction, physical and mental stimulation, and a healthy outlet for creative expression. Based on the overwhelming success of the project, the Paramount will be seeking funds to sustain this work.


On January 12th and 13th, professional woodturner Kirk DeHeer from Provo, UT conducted an evening demonstration and an all day workshop at the Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud, MN. The event was facilitated with the help of the Minnesota Woodturners Association and the Mid-Minnesota Association of Woodturners, both chapters of the American Association of Woodturners.


The Education and Outreach Department at the Paramount is the newest addition to programming at the Center. It grew out of a part-time experiment to see if such a division would be of value to both the Paramount and to the community. Well, it didn’t take long to determine that there was plenty of work that could be done. For many years, the Paramount was a wonderful place for people who could get to the facility and were able to pay for events or classes. To be sure, work had been done here to provide low-cost performances with the 101 Series on the stage and with scholarships in the Visual Arts Center, but it was not difficult to find those in our community who simply did not have adequate access to quality arts experiences. While we knew the arts belong to all, it was clear they were not accessible to all. And why, you might ask, is that important? Well, it can be hard to explain because the arts are woven so tightly into our lives that we might not even recognize their presence. Music on the radio, flowers in the park, the way we dress our bodies, arrange our furniture or plate our food are all personal creative expressions. Truly, we are all artists! Our creative spirit shows itself in daily choices but is fortified and nurtured with opportunities to engage deeply in artful experiences. You see, the arts are the highest form of communication! We can use words, pictures, movement, structures and sound to convey thoughts and ideas, but it is the arts – dance, music, painting, movie-making, architecture, photography, drama, sculpture, literature, poetry and more – that take us to the highest level of human expression. We may never become a Picasso or a Maya Angelou or an Ansel Adams, but in taking the risk to try, we refine our own humanity. And so it has been a privilege for the Paramount to build an amazing cadre of local artists, provide training for them where needed, and collaborate with other arts organizations to bring quality arts experiences to limited populations – the elderly, those with disabilities, those who have experienced abuse and trauma, or are new to our country and its culture. The stories abound of joy, capacity, and confidence that have sprung from the many ways we have taken the arts from the Paramount to those who want and need the opportunity but can’t come to us. Through the gifts of community members and grant funds, hundreds of good people have been nurtured in body and soul through the arts. We also provide meaningful, relevant workshops for school students, businesses, churches, and organizations. Social workers needing to build their team spirit, agencies needing to get everyone united around a new mission statement, and businesses trying to integrate new employees have all found value in coming to the Paramount for time to reflect in new ways and create together. They leave changed in very good ways! The Paramount is truly a Center for the Arts. We invite you to come and explore the ways we can be of service to you.

What a fabulous performance! A great time was had by all at the School of Rock concert held here at the Paramount on August 11.

Thanks to Steve Diamond Elements for this amazing photo.

What comes to mind when you think of a night in Nashville? Live music, good food and fun … Right?

On Friday, September 30th, 2016 the Paramount Center for the Arts is holding its annual fundraiser Autumn Moon: A Night in Nashville. You will get some southern charm and a slice of Tennessee with southern-flavored appetizers, live entertainment, Tennessee whiskey and lots of fun!

This year’s event will feature Wynonna Judd & The Big Noise. Her new album, “ Wynonna & the Big Noise ” was released in February of this year and has been described by Country Weekly as “her absolute best solo effort.” Judd has released eight studio albums, a live album, a holiday album and two compilation albums in addition to more than 20 singles. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the pre-show reception, including complimentary appetizers, cash bar, visual artist demonstrations, entertainment a silent auction and much more! Judd’s main show performance begins at 8 PM.

There is a private pre-show dinner at 912 Regency for Autumn Moon sponsors starting with a social hour and registration at 5 p.m. If you would like more sponsor information please contact Bob Johnson: 320-257-3106, or Sara Erickson: 320-257-3130,

All proceeds from this event will be combined with other contributes to support multiple programs of the Paramount Center for the Arts, provide scholarships for camps, defray the cost of Arts Underground, allow the Paramount to have space for exhibits and to ensure that rental costs remain affordable for local arts groups, that the level of service provided by the Paramount Center for the Arts will be maintained and the Paramount will continue to be able to attract big names to our stage!

To reserve your tickets for Autumn Moon go to our website or call our Box Office at (320) 259-5463.

The Wirth Center for the Performing Arts presents the School of Rock Concert on August 11 at 7:00. This performance showcases teen rock musicians in central Minnesota and beyond following a two-week camp. It is simply amazing how much young talent we have in our area and how quickly they are able to produce a top notch rock concert experience! Celebrate our area’s youth!

St. Cloud native Dan Mondloch has been featured in the Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine! This local artist is a current board member with the Paramount Center for the Arts and teaches regularly in the Visual Arts Center.

Take a peek into the life of this amazing artist to see how it all started and what inspires him to create such beautiful works. Dan will be teaching various watercolor and acrylic painting classes at the Visual Arts Center this coming Fall/Winter season. Watch for the new pamphlet with details coming out soon!



On May 20th , 2016 the Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Center changed its name and logo to better reflect what we do and who we are as an organization. We are proud to introduce the “Paramount Center for the Arts” to our community!

The mission of the Paramount Center for the Arts is to provide opportunities for artistic production, creative exploration, arts education and the enjoyment of arts and entertainment.

The aim of our facility is to ensure use by a diverse set of patrons, encourage community involvement, and generate a positive economic impact on Downtown Saint Cloud. Paramount Executive Director, Bob Johnson, appreciates the concept of arts and culture being inextricably linked to the entire community. He points out that the Paramount is bustling with activities for all ages, genders, and cultural backgrounds. There is so much more to the Paramount than is sometimes obvious.

In October of 1994, a group was incorporated as Paramount Arts Resource Trust with a mission to work toward raising money to renovate the Paramount Theatre and develop an arts district. Paramount Arts Resource Trust is no longer the descriptor for what happens at the Paramount Center for the Arts.

The programs have grown significantly in the past 16 years and the new name represents the totality of all that goes on in the theatre, the visual arts center, gallery spaces, and education and outreach. The Paramount exudes history and talent and has served the public in so many ways for all of these years. It’s a place where folks laugh, cry, inspire one another, become entertained and educated, and make connections.

To find out more about what the Paramount Center for the Arts offers, go to our website and/or contact us for information about classes, shows, education/outreach, fine arts and other offerings.

The Mid Minnesota Association of Woodturners (MMAW), an AAW chapter, meets at the Paramount Center for the Arts in St. Cloud, Minnesota. In exchange for meeting, classroom, and storage space, the MMAW provides instructors for community classes at the facility. When the Paramount sought input from MMAW members on what classes to offer, one suggestion was for a learning experience that mirrors successful instruction in other art mediums: a cohort.

A cohort is loosely defined as a study group where the members choose a common goal to pursue. The concept is to learn from each other, rather than from a single instructor teaching the group. One benefit of a cohort experience is that the group gets multiple perspectives on what works and what challenges are experienced.
The cohort is a support system that encourages learning.


woodturning cohort-1 woodturning cohort-2 woodturning cohort-3

Q&A with Executive Director, Bob Johnson

Paramount Theatre & Visual Arts Center Executive Director, Bob Johnson, has a longstanding appreciation of the arts in Central Minnesota. Johnson, a St. Cloud resident of over 20 years, came to The Paramount from a long career in the healthcare industry. With one year under his belt, he’s excited to play a part in creating opportunities for Central Minnesota Arts. Bob calls The Paramount the “living room of the community.” It’s a place where people can be inspired, entertained, educated and connected.

You’ve been at The Paramount a little over a year; what is your impression so far?
I’ve always loved the Paramount and the concept of arts and culture being inextricably linked to the entire community. This place is bustling with activity for all ages, genders, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and we have an outreach program that touches students, teachers, seniors, nursing home residents and many others. I believe, to some degree, that this is one of  the best-kept secrets in Minnesota, even though 80,000 people per year attend some function at the Paramount. That number could and should double. Hopefully, our team can develop tactics and strategies to make that happen over the next few years.

What do you enjoy about the St. Cloud area?
I love St. Cloud! The whole community has been good to me and my family. Good educational institutions, good neighbors, good healthcare, local government and lots of leisure activities available. I like the idea that I can run into people I know just about everywhere in town and really enjoy seeing folks at the Paramount.

Have you done any stage work?
In the past (years ago now!) I played a few roles in community theatre productions: Rudolph in “Hello Dolly,” Fagin in “Oliver,” Harold Hill in “the Music Man,” Sir Evelyn Oakley in “Anything Goes,” the Narrator in “Into the Woods” and God in “Children of Eden.” Once you play God, any other role is anticlimactic. I’ve enjoyed meeting people, learning the music, lines, more about myself and just getting away from my regular responsibilities. I think being onstage is a great way to understand what it means to walk in someone else’s shoes and can teach all of us to be more tolerant and open to those around us. Though it’s been awhile and life is busy, I do wonder about getting involved in a stage production again in the not-too- distant future.

Do you have a favorite performance that you’ve seen at The Paramount?
Two immediately come to mind: GREAT did “Ragtime” in the fall of 2015 and I thought it was one of the best presentations I’ve seen ever in St. Cloud. Because of the themes and the teachings that come out of the dialogue, music, and interaction of the characters, I really found myself wishing that everyone in the whole community could have seen it. The musical itself presents some of life’s greatest lessons.

My second favorite performance was just this month. Shaun Hopper , a fingerstyle guitarist with added percussive techniques, played all alone on our stage for a couple of hours and was just spectacular. The talent, the musical selections, the variety and brilliance of the arrangements all served to get the audience to their feet a number of times. Again, I wish more people could experience the magic that art and artists can deliver with such ease and grace. It really is life changing sometimes.

How is The Paramount important to the arts in Central Minnesota?
The Paramount is the premier space for presenting in our region. Nearly 100 years old, this place drips of history and talent. In terms of preservation and growth, the Paramount offers unique challenges and has served the public in so many ways for all these years. It really is like our own living rooms where folks laugh, cry, inspire one another, enjoy being entertained and educated, and can connect with others and relax.

What are ways the community can get involved at The Paramount?
Members of the community can support the Paramount first by attending events and having a good time. The arts contribute greatly to the economy of the downtown area yet are not themselves all that lucrative. We need loyal patrons and many of them. Additionally, volunteers are always needed whether for our annual fundraiser, Autumn Moon, to work with kids in the visual arts center , to help sell the work of local artists in the Gallery, or to usher for stage presentations. We love our volunteers!

Lastly, though we have some earned income and apply for multiple grants, we always need contributions from businesses and individuals to keep things going. It can be an expensive and risky proposition to program and put an act on the stage, not being sure of the response. Art is pretty subjective and sometimes we struggle to determine what the public wants. I’d like to invite the public to tell us what they’d like to see on stage and invite them to help us with donations when they can so that we can bring more and more art/entertainment/people and economic vitality to downtown St. Cloud.

I also want to thank those who worked to save the Paramount years ago and all who are supporting it now to ensure it lives on into the future for our children and grandchildren.

Can you tell me about visual arts classes at The Paramount?
There is a wide range of classes offered each season in the Visual Arts Center. One can learn oil painting, ceramics, glass work, weaving and more. I just started a wood turning class this week and having spent so many years “riding a desk,” I really was energized by playing with equipment and scattering sawdust everywhere. On a more serious note, the instructors are great! It’s wonderful to meet new people in class, and I think we’re all a bit surprised when we discover there may be an artist in us. If anyone wants to find out more, they can always go to our website and/or pick up a brochure at the box office and all the information about classes and other offerings is there.

How can you purchase tickets to shows?
Online ticket purchasing is simple and easy. You can pick where you want to sit, print your tickets at home and you’re all set. The website is the starting point. If you’d rather call the Paramount, our box office number is 3202595463. One of our agents will be happy to help you make a purchase and will mail your tickets directly to you.