History of the organization
In 1909, The Carnegie Library, Baker County’s first public library building, opened its doors. All Carnegie Libraries were funded by:
- a cash donation from Andrew Carnegie, and
- the community’s promise to donate the land and maintain the building.
The Baker County Carnegie Library was one of 1,689 libraries donated by Carnegie to 1,642 U.S. towns between 1899 and 1917.
The Crossroads Center for the Creative and Performing Arts began in 1963 as The Oregon Trail Arts Association. Their vision was that anyone, regardless of financial resources or artistic potential, was provided the opportunity to participate. They offered programs that were not available anywhere else.
For many, Crossroads has provided what may be their only exposure to arts and cultural experiences.
In 2002, Baker City and the Crossroads Board signed a 30-year, rent-free lease with additional 30-year options to renew for the Carnegie Library building to become Crossroads' permanent home.
Carnegie Arts and Cultural Center
For our children:
A center where children channel their energy into healthy, educational activities.
In 2003, of the 2,541 kids enrolled in Baker County schools, programs taught by Crossroads affiliated artists served 1,000+ children through classes, workshops and summer camps. The ArtSpeak program, designed for underprivileged and at-risk youth and families, has served as many as 800 children in one year. It has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts.
For the community:
- A vibrant gathering place for people of all ages
- Art education, performing and visual arts, and cultural events
- A magnificent location for classes, events, receptions and celebrations
For economic prosperity:
- Nationally known as an arts destination which attracts “cultural tourists”
- 81% of all U.S. adults who traveled in 2002 were cultural tourists - Portand Oregon Visitors Assoc.
- More artists move here because of the reputation of our established artists and it’s a perfect place to live and create
- Visitors spend time in Historic Baker City’s commercial district on their way to gallery exhibits in the historic Carnegie building
- A key component to Baker County’s livability, recruiting new business and growing established businesses.
Flexible space to:
- Offer more programs simultaneously
- Respond to community requests for new offerings
- Expand class sizes
- Rooms designed to meet multi-purpose needs
- Theater to provide performance opportunities for all age groups
- Reception areas and full-service kitchen for community events, public receptions and family celebrations
- Magnificent facility to showcase local artists, traveling exhibits and theatrical productions
- Elevator to support people with disabilities to fully participate in classes and events
- Additional revenue sources to fund programs and services, including a sixty-year, rent-free lease agreement, rental income, touring admissions, concessions and endowments
- Will impact County’s strategic, economic plan to “attract visitors and new businesses by offering viable visitor attractions”
- Will attract visitors and the local public to the historic downtown district to shop
“Restoring the Carnegie will not only provide a home for Crossroads, but will help to deepen the community’s sense of pride and history, and draw cultural tourists from throughout the Northwest.”
--Laurel Schweitzer MacMillan,
Oregon Arts Commission, Community Development Coordinator
Programs we offer include
- Hand-to-Heart Scholarship Fund
- Artists in Residence
- Crossroads Players Community Theater
- Children’s summer art camps
- First Friday (since 1966)
- Art at the Crossroads
- Writing workshop
The needs that Crossroads fulfill include
- Opportunities to study, teach, and exhibit art for artists
- Arts education, performing arts, and cultural events for the community
- Programs in schools
- Networking with partners
- Established networks for artists to promote their skills and partner with other artists
- Mentor programs
- Economic benefits