New Milwaukee Ballet building named after philanthropists Donna and Donald Baumgartner

Campaign has raised $22 million of $26 million goal

Donald and Donna Baumgartner with Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Micheal Pink at the site of the new center.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

The Milwaukee Ballet’s new two-story, 52,000-square-foot facility in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward neighborhood will bear the name of campaign’s lead donors and longtime Milwaukee Ballet supporters Donna and Donald Baumgartner, the company unveiled Tuesday.

Donald and Donna Baumgartner with Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Micheal Pink at the site of the new center.

Donna and Donald Baumgartner, the founder of Milwaukee-based Paper Machinery Corp., are serving as honorary co-chairs of the campaign for the new Baumgartner Center for Dance, which has raised $22 million of its $26 million goal.

Milwaukee Ballet officials made the announcement at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new center at 132 N. Jackson St., located at the southern end of the Italian Community Center parking lot in the Third Ward.

“This center has been the company’s dream for many years and it is an absolute pleasure to help convert it to a reality,” Donna Baumgartner said. “Donald and I share not just a love of dance, but we value the transformative power this organization adds to the life of our community. The new Center will provide a place for dancers, teachers and students from across the Americas, Europe and Asia to learn, study and perform their craft.”

The building will replace the Ballet’s training studio and offices at 504 W. National Ave. in Walker’s Point. It will include two large rehearsal halls for the ballet’s main dance company, multiple classrooms for children and adults, and five other rehearsal studios for children.

Rendering of the Baumgartner Center for Dance (HGA Architects and Engineers)

HGA Architects and Engineers is leading the design team for the project. The construction will be managed by Catalyst Construction.

The campaign will also benefit the Ballet’s Artistic Fund, will “enhance the Ballet’s trajectory of recognized choreographic excellence and spur development of new works,” the Ballet said.

“Our dedication to developing classical ballet for a modern world underpins our efforts to attract new ballet patrons of all ages and backgrounds,” said Michael Pink, artistic director for the Ballet. “This fund will also support the creation of new work for our School & Academy students who benefit from unique opportunities to develop their technique and share the stage with our Company dancers.”

The third component of the capital campaign is the “Give Back to Milwaukee Fund,” which will support an expansion of the Ballet’s community engagement programs, including Tour de Force.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.