Paramount Center for the Arts

25 Years!


The Paramount Center for the Arts is currently celebrating its 25th season of programming! But wait, didn’t the Theatre just celebrate its 100th anniversary?

Yes, it is true that the Paramount Theatre has been a part of the Central Minnesota community for over 100 years, having opened in December of 1921. The Paramount Center for the Arts officially opened on Wednesday September 23, 1998 as the Paramount Arts District, following a 15 month major renovation of the historic Theatre and a newly added suite of art classrooms in the lower-level!

It’s All in the Numbers
Did you know that during the tenure of the longest serving Paramount employee there have been four Executive Directors, five presidential elections (six in November!), 14 total solar eclipses (somewhere on the planet), and an estimated 3,300 show days on stage at the Paramount Center for the Arts?! Paul Deutsch, Maintenance Manager at the Paramount, began as a part-time Technical Crew staff in March of 2002, an incredible 22 years ago! Beyond changing the 956 light bulbs in the marquee, Paul is also responsible for all of the letters on the marquee. By his recollection, the coldest temperature he changed the lettering was around -15 degrees and the warmest temperature in the mid 90’s! Outside all of the work he does maintaining the building, Paul has also helped local community and metro area schools with technical work as part of Paramount outreach. And each time he checks the systems on the rooftop boiler room…. 98 stairs up… and then 98 stairs down! Thank you, Paul, for all of your dedicated work over the past 22 years… and counting!

Art Club
A program that will definitely have a long and exciting history, but is new to the Paramount now, is Art Club, offered through our Community Engagement department and partnership with ARC Minnesota! This monthly opportunity welcomes adults with disabilities, and their care team, to join in a gathering of creativity where artists work on self-guided and self-directed projects! Since last September we have seen a phenomenal variety of mediums including poetry writing, gem art, memoir writing, drawing, fiber arts, building block construction, digital art, and more! Though registration is required, Art Club is free to attend! Our final session this Spring is Tuesday May 28 from 6 to 8pm, CLICK HERE to register. If you are not able to join us in May we will be back in September!

High School Art Show
Speaking of an incredible history at the Paramount, the annual Juried High School Art Exhibition and Competition was on display throughout the month of April, with an exciting reception and edge of your seat announcement of awards on April 26! This unique program began over 20 years ago with the St. Cloud Area Arts Council, transitioned to Visual Arts Minnesota, and as of 2019 the Paramount Center for the Arts has had the honor of showcasing the artistic talents of student artists from the region. Schools select up to 10 works to represent their facility, which were then juried by a team of judges at the Paramount to determine prizes. This year, 17 Central Minnesota community schools boldly shared over 130 pieces of mindfully created works with phenomenal artistic techniques! Though the galleries have transitioned to the next show, you can still explore the incredible collection by visiting the virtual gallery. CLICK HERE to explore the exhibition and to see this year’s award winners!   

In October 1998, County Stearns Theatrical Company presented the season opener musical comedy “Somethings Afoot” by James McDonald, David Vos, and Robert Gerlach for the newly renovated Paramount Theatre. One of the main cast of characters in this show, Ms. Tweed, was portrayed by Patty Soltis, who today is the Gift Gallery Manager at the Paramount Center for the Arts! 

The Paramount Gift Gallery opened shortly after the renovation and is located in what once was lobby of the Breen Hotel, on historic West St. Germain Street. Today this beautiful space is proud to present hundreds of beautiful and unique artworks created by more than 80 local and regional artists one of a kind items are always rotating throughout the space, so there is always something new for people to explore! Visit the Gift Gallery, which is just through the double doors in the Paramount Granite Lobby!     

Patty Soltis was back on the historic Paramount Stage, as Maleficent in GREAT Theatre’s production of Disney’s Descendants The Musical, January-February 2023!

A true “light bulb” moment at the Paramount!

In 2015 the Paramount Center for the Arts converted all the bulbs in the marquee to LED lights… all 956 of them! Each of these bulbs have an average lifespan of about 50,000 hours!

There have been a total of three marquee signs installed at the Paramount since it opened. The original “Sherman Theatre” Marquee was used from 1921 until 1930 when the first “Paramount” marquee sign was installed after the name change. The current marquee has been a part of the the historic downtown skyline for 78 years, having been installed in 1946.

In 1997, as part of the renovation project, the marquee was completely removed and restored!

The Art Studios in the lower-level of the Historic Paramount Theatre are home to many our art classes, but not all of them; The Tech Site, located in Waite Park, is home to our Wood Art programs and our ceramic gas kiln!

Wood Art programming includes woodcarving, wood turning, and wood working. We partner with the Central Minnesota Woodcarvers Association, the Central Minnesota Woodworkers Association, and the Mid Minnesota Association of Wood Turners to present exciting opportunities in a variety of areas of interest!

The cone 10 gas kiln, which is an oven used to fire clay projects, is fired on a monthly basis. This higher temperature kiln offers a variety of glazes that are different from the selection of glazes used in the cone 6 electric kilns, at the downtown location.

A collection of photographs by artist Wayne Torborg is currently on display in the Gallery C, which showcases the Theatre just before the renovations began! CLICK HERE for details!

One of the seven on-site art classrooms in the Visual Arts Studios, available for community use since 1998, is our Pottery Studio. This fully equipped space has been a popular destination for people to explore working with clay on the pottery wheel to create bowls, cups, plates, and so much more! Today we have 22 electric wheels and are offering 19 classes this season, ranging from Intro to Pottery for those who have never thrown on the wheel, to our Clay Cohorts, a group of advanced potters who have significant experience!   

The History

In September 1998, we opened our doors with expanded artistic offerings, which then featured a newly renovated theatre and an added suite of Arts Studios in the lower-level.

During the past 25 years we have had the honor to continue a tradition of service to our community, celebrating multiple generations of returning family and welcoming new friends to this home for the arts.

Today, the Paramount Center for the Arts features our historic Theatre, which hosts more than 200 days of performing arts activities each year; art studios with over 130 classes and workshops, both on site and at our satellite Tech Site location in Waite Park; three exhibitions galleries, highlighting nearly 30 noteworthy and beautifully curated shows; a storefront in St. Cloud’s historic Downtown that represents the works of 80 retail artists living and working in Minnesota; and a Community Engagement Department that continuously is exploring new and meaningful ways to connect with people beyond our brick and mortar locations.

To be a vibrant arts organization, we want to continue to inspire artistic exploration. This coming year we are working to design accessible classes that celebrate individuals of all abilities, connect to vulnerable communities through unique local partnerships, and so much more.

Please visit this site often, this page will adapting as we continue the celebration of our first 25 years!

Virtual Tour!

CLICK HERE to explore the entire facility and enjoy a newly create video that highlights the Paramount! Thank you to our friends at Stringline Motion Picture Company and Fines Aerial Imaging for helping make this project possible!

The Visual Arts Studios:
The Pottery Studio is home to 22 electric wheels, including one of the only publicly available accessible wheels, allowing the wheel height to be adjusted and a hand controlled speed pedal. An additional three kick wheels, three electric kilns, and cone six glazes are all a part of the Pottery Studio!

The Handbuilding and sculpture Studio is a space for people to create with clay off the pottery wheel, and use equipment like the slab roller, extruder, molds, and other tools to explore the art of ceramics!

Our Glass Studio is home to several glass fusing kilns, grinders to help shape glass, cutters, nippers, and a variety of other tools to work in stained and fused glass. Recently, we have had the pleasure of adding learning opportunities in lapidary, or the art of stone working, to this space!

Painting and Drawing is a large flexible space, allowing for drawing, painting with watercolors and acrylics, and other mixed media opportunities!

The Fiber Arts studios include six table looms, for smaller projects like decorative wall art, scraves, table runners and placemats. Our two floor looms are great for creating larger pieces like rugs! And the portable frame looms offer a great deal of flexibility in where you choose to create your work!

The Tech Site, located in Waite Park, is home to the wood shop and ceramic cone 10 gas kiln. Our partnerships with the Central Minnesota Woodcarvers Association, Central Minnesota Woodworkers Association and the Mid-Minnesota Association of Woodturners allow for safe educational exploration of the wood arts!

A Historic Look Back at the Theatre: 
On Christmas Eve, 1921, citizens of Central Minnesota paid fifty cents to attend the grand opening of “St. Cloud’s Largest and Finest Playhouse,” the Sherman Theatre. The event, featured D.W. Griffith’s silent film Way Down East accompanied by a live orchestra, and marked the beginning of generations of entertainment at the theatre including Vaudeville acts, operas, concerts, Broadway road shows, animal acts, wrestling matches, speeches, political rallies, plays, musicals and movies.

Theatre Sneak Peek: 
Historic Theatre features the original Sherman Theatre Curtain!

The chandeliers on either side of the stage are, as we understand, original to the Theatre and have witnessed every event that has ever occurred!

The dressing rooms on house left are original and were used by vaudevillian performers to prepare for their appearance on stage!

There are currently 840 seats in the Theatre, all with a pretty phenomenal view of the stage!

25th Anniversary Art Exhibition

This exhibition is a visual sampling of the programs we invite you to explore!
View a collection of photos that are a visual representation of the activity that happens throughout and beyond our building! Discover your next arts adventure, here at the Paramount Center for the Arts!

CLICK HERE for details!

Located in the lower level hallways.

Open during our regular hours of operation:
Monday through Thursday 10am-9pm & Friday-Saturday 10am-4pm

Free to Attend. Always Welcoming. Always Inspiring.


Gift Gallery – Retail Store Offering Unique Gifts and Original Artwork (Main Level).

Expanded Visual Arts Studios Offering Classes with Skilled Artists (Lower Level and Tech Site).

Three Onsite Galleries and Monthly Art Exhibitions (Lower and Main Levels).

Engaging in the Community to Foster Meaningful Connections to the Arts (On and Off-site).

  • Learn more about our Tech Site noted in the exhibition.


These local organizations support continued art education and mentorships in our community and beyond.

  • ARC Minnesota
  • Central Minnesota Woodcarvers Association
  • Central Minnesota Watercolorists
  • Central Minnesota Woodworkers Association
  • Mid-Minnesota Association of Woodturners
  • St. Cloud State University

Other Valued Partnerships Include:

  • Anna Marie’s Alliance
  • Central Minnesota K-12 Public Art Teachers
  • City of St. Cloud
  • College of Saint Benedicts and St. John’s University
  • Great Theatre
  • Pathways for Youth
  • Reclaiming the Circle
  • St. Cloud Chamber & Downtown Alliance
  • Stearns History Museum
  • Terebinth Refuge
  • Whitney Senior Center


Visit our full listing of exciting Performing Arts opportunities, ranging from local live theatre, musical groups, comedies acts, film presentations and so much more!