Nestled between the gently flowing waters of Beaverton Creek and a lively downtown brimming with restaurants and bars, the Patricia Reser Center for the Arts is rapidly becoming the centerpiece of a blossoming cultural hub in Beaverton.
The Reser, as it’s called for short, is located in Washington County, the most diverse county in Oregon. One in five residents of the city of Beaverton were born outside of the United States, and more than 100 languages are spoken in area homes. That diversity is mirrored in the center’s programming. “We want people to see themselves reflected onstage,” says Chris Ayzoukian, executive director of The Reser. “We have an eclectic international mix, and we take real pride in that.”
Since The Reser opened in March 2022, audiences have flocked to the space to see musicians, performers and storytellers from cultures that truly span the globe — and to take advantage of easy access and great nearby dining.
See Music, Dance, Film, and More
At its core, The Reser is a performing arts center, bringing local and international musicians, dancers, performers and films to the intimate 550-seat Mainstage Theater.
The inaugural 2022-23 Reser Presents season opens with four performances by Pink Martini with China Forbes and Storm Large (Sept. 16-18, 2022). Formed by Portland pianist Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini features more than a dozen musicians and performs in multilingual repertoire.
Other highlights include DakhaBrakha, a Ukrainian folk-music quartet (Sept. 30, 2022); Gina Chavez, a Latin Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter (March 11, 2023); Caroline Shaw, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and violinist, performing with So Percussion (Nov. 11, 2022); and “Cenicienta,” a bilingual stage production of “Cinderella,” which uses puppetry and actors to tell a “story within a story” (March 4, 2023).
Ayzoukian says that bringing diversity to the stage not only expands horizons and ignites conversations, it also impacts the Beaverton and Washington County community, especially families with children. “They’re seeing people who look like their own communities onstage,” he says. “It raises their own perception of who they can be.”
Inviting Galleries and Inspiring Spaces
While it hosts culturally rich performers from as far away as Japan, Afghanistan, Hawaii and Morocco, The Reser is much more than a theater. Inside you’ll also find an on-site art gallery that features rotating exhibits chosen to evoke curiosity and encourage deeper conversations. Admission to the gallery is free. The Reser also includes a multiuse community space called the Lab that can be used for educational workshops, rehearsals, master classes and corporate events.
“We think of ourselves as a community resource,” Ayzoukian says. “Our mission is to create opportunities for deeper understanding and authentic connections between people.”
To inspire those connections, the building itself is an architectural marvel. It features 21,000 feet of Douglas fir and dozens of floor-to-ceiling windows that invite in natural light, as well as curious passersby enticed by the works of art displayed in the street-level gallery.
“The Arts are for everybody. They have an important impact on everyday lives, and we wanted to build a place that was open and inviting to everybody,” Ayzoukian says. “We think of it as this whole ecosystem of people engaging with the Arts, gathering and sharing stories and connecting across cultures.”
You don’t have to even go inside to experience the center’s wonders. On display at The Reser are four pieces of public art commissioned through funding generated by the City of Beaverton’s 1% for Art Program and with additional support from the Reser Family Foundation, Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District and the Beaverton Urban Renewal Agency. Each piece carries meaning special to the center’s role in the community.
“The Ribbon,” a curved metal sculpture by artists Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang, resembles the nearby creek and emulates dance moves onstage. “Puff (rearviewmirrorball),” a spherical piece of art hanging in the lobby by Jacqueline Metz and Nancy Chew, is made from rearview mirrors and was inspired by the inclination to reflect on the past as we move forward.
“Gather” by William Schlough features three-dimensional Fender’s blue butterflies flying into a window of the parking garage. The structure also displays “Common Threads,” a mural that depicts young artists resting on the shoulders of the region’s artistic history. The piece was created by local artists Addie Boswell, Van Cooley, Sara Siestreem (Hanis Coos) and Antwoine Thomas.
Make It a Night Out
The center is located mere steps from the Beaverton Central stop on the MAX Blue Line and only a quarter-mile from the MAX Red Line. That central location increases accessibility and makes a car-free date or family night at The Reser wonderfully enticing.
Before the show, grab dinner just a few blocks away on Beaverton’s Restaurant Row, which has enough global culinary offerings to complement an evening of international cultural immersion. Consider dining at Afuri Izakaya, a Japanese restaurant that pulls from the region’s natural bounty to create top-quality ramen. Or sample the latest dishes at Decarli (which just moved to its new location next to The Reser), which features a rotating menu showcasing Oregon ingredients while drawing on the chef’s Swiss and Italian roots. Top Burmese Bistro Royale is a great place to try the fresh flavors of curry, noodle dishes and samosas.
There’s even great dining right next door to The Reser in central Beaverton. Mingo dishes up pizzas and pastas directly across the street from the main entrance. Also within easy walking distance is The Westgate Bourbon Bar & Taphouse, a cozy modern gastropub perfect for après-show cocktails.
If You Go:
- The center and art gallery are free to visit. Open hours are noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday as well as 90 minutes before all public events. The box office is open during the same hours.
- The Reser offers discounts for first responders, military, students and seniors. Oregon Trail (Arts for AllSNAP) cardholders can buy tickets to eligible concerts for $5 as part of the Arts for All program.
- Join the center’s mailing list to be the first to learn about upcoming shows and exhibits.