The MCPA Story

The building that would become the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts (MCPA) was a community and cultural center in Findlay long before the idea of a downtown performing arts center was ever conceived.

Originally Findlay High School, the building was constructed in 1925 on the historic site of the first Findlay field office for the Ohio Oil Company, which would grow into the international company better known today as Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

Fifteen years later, an art deco style auditorium was added to the school, and for the next 23 years, the theater was home to student productions, ceremonies and assemblies. In 1963, the building became Central Middle School. Central, as it was affectionately known, hosted productions by the Findlay Light Opera Company, touring shows presented by The Arts Partnership, the annual high school musical and much more.

Findlay City Schools built a new junior high school in 2012. Central Middle School closed its doors just a year later, in January 2013. The building was slated for demolition until a group of citizens organized themselves around the mission to “Save Central.” By April of that same year, the Hancock County Performing Arts Center was formed, and its board of directors quickly mobilized the community.

Using the beloved auditorium as a structural and aesthetic foundation, renovations included new theater seats, expanded backstage capabilities and state-of-the-art technology, along with the addition of a stunning atrium lobby, lounge, visual art gallery, suite of dressing rooms and several flexible spaces to be used for classes and meetings.

In 2018, MCPA entered into an exciting new partnership. A merger with The Arts Partnership (TAP), a local organization with a 40-year history of promoting shows and arts education, combines strengths and consolidates resources, opening up a whole new world of possibilities for arts education programming.

Originally named the Findlay Area Arts Council, TAP was founded in 1979 by a group of visionary community leaders. During its birth, the organization’s mission was to encourage and stimulate the practice and appreciation of the arts locally and statewide. In 1998, the organization changed its name to The Arts Partnership of Greater Hancock County.

Today, MCPA hosts over 300 events each year including performances by rock-n-roll legends Chicago and country music superstar Darius Rucker, as well as weddings and preschool graduation ceremonies.

The growth of MCPA’s programming and endowment fund ensures that the long history of this community performing arts center is just the beginning!