The Laramie Plains Civic Center is a staple in the Gem City. At almost 150 years old, the building still stands impressive and is now more inviting than ever. 

Jessica Brauer, Executive Director since 2022, has been hard at work on her mission to keep the doors open, keep the space welcoming, and keep the community engaged. Brauer recently announced a $165,000 partnership with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Ayres Associates for development support services in 2023-2024. 

“The Laramie Plains Civic Center has served as a hub for growth and connection in Laramie in many forms for over 140 years. The space currently serves as a home to over 70 tenants who work in the arts, non-profits, public service, and small business—all of which enrich the community in a multitude of ways,” she said, which motivates her efforts to keep the old building functioning. 

The funds will be used for assessments of critical maintenance necessities like plumbing and electrical, as well as brand outreach and Wayfinding.

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Many community members know it because of the multitude of events held in one of its available spaces: the Kenny Sailors Gym, the Gryphon Theater, the South Gym, and the Phoenix Ballroom, just to name a few; there’s also a bevy of art studios, office spaces, and a daycare housed in the stone building. 

“This space is important to preserve not only because of its rich history but because of the individuals who use the spaces for arts and culture experiences, recreation, public service, and more. It’s important because it allows the people of Laramie to gather, connect, and grow, and our mission is to preserve that future for this community,” Brauer added.

Built in 1878 as the East Side School, it is now the oldest school building in the state and has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1981. It needs renovations, and Brauer is finding the resources to do them. 

She is presenting to Laramie City Council tonight, as she suddenly found out another application for her work, this one to the Wyoming Business Council (WBC), has been paused.

Josh Dorrell, CEO of the WBC, said "We paused the [Community Facility Rehabilitation] program because there was quite a bit more response than was originally contemplated when this budget footnote was added during the last legislative session. We are working with members of the legislature to see what can be done to address this."

Brauer is serving Wyoming communities, and hopefully, the WBC will consider Laramie’s Civic Center a priority. 

“It’s important to me because my peers use these spaces to share their important, creative work, whether it’s a painting or a business idea. These people undeniably make my community the place I chose to live and work,” she said. 

Laramie Youth Justice Institute

The Laramie Youth Justice Institute had its third iteration this summer and created a public art installation honoring their discussions around social justice, diversity, and art.

Gallery Credit: Nicole Sherwood

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