DE PERE, Wis. — Twenty years ago Carolyn Caffrey opened Paintin’ Pottery in De Pere to help fill a need in the community.

What You Need To Know

  • Work on the Mulva Cultural Center in De Pere started in 2020

  • The center is expected to open in summer 2023

  • It’s expected to be a destination and business draw for De Pere and the surrounding areas​

“It needed a place where kids could go. A place where parents could take their kids, and adults could have a night out and have some fun, some social time together,” she said.

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Just a few blocks from her creative space, the vision of Jim and Miriam Mulva is taking shape in the Mulva Cultural Center.

The 75,000-square foot building is expected to bring world-renowned traveling exhibits, and film and arts to De Pere. Caffrey said she expects it will bring an extra dimension and attraction to the city.

“This area is great. It’s another thing to do, though. It’s another thing to feel proud of in our community,” she said. “I think we’re very blessed getting this.”

The land for the center was donated by the city. Improvements are already being made to the area surrounding the building. For De Pere residents, it will be a gift.

De Pere Mayor James Boyd said the impact of the center will radiate beyond the city.

“It’s going to mean a lot for De Pere. This is the primary focal point for our city. You’ve got the river across the way, you have the start of our downtown and you go across to the west side as well,” he said. “We’re just really excited.”

(Spectrum News 1/Nathan Phelps)

Boyd said it’s also expected to bring visitors and business to the area.

“It’s hard to quantify something that’s not done yet, however, we do anticipate this will have a significant economic impact,” he said. “Not just for De Pere, but for the whole surrounding area.”

Caffrey said she’s anticipating the center will bring in people who have never visited the city before. That’s one reason why she decided to add a fourth kiln to the business.

“We’re planning… so that when (visitors) come to the community, we’re doing our job and we’re doing it the best to meet those customers who are coming in,” Caffrey said.

She’s also developing ideas to accommodate visitors who are passing through town for either the day or overnight trips.