If there’s one message that developer and Misty’s Dance Unlimited owner Misty Lown wants all kids who enter the International Performing Arts Center to take away, it is this: You are wonderful just as you are.

In fact, that message is inscribed on one of the main indoor walls of the new building. “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” is scrawled across the top and underscored by positive messages written below by young people who will use the facility. Though now covered by mirrors, the message is there forever, standing as a reminder for youth every time they see their reflection. “Even when someone looks in the mirror and sees something else, the truth will always be there,” says Lown.

It’s a theme that not only runs through Misty’s Dance Unlimited, now housed at IPAC, but it’s also a message Lown, who owns the building with her husband Mitch, hopes will inspire all who enter its doors.

“IPAC was designed as a space not only for artistic expression, but also for human connection,” she says. “The two are synergetic, and both are important for self-realization.”

In addition to housing the dance studio, IPAC is also home to Ballet La Crosse, Chance to Dance Foundation and Everything Dance (a dancewear retail store). It is also epicenter for Lown’s international affiliation program More Than Just Great Dancing, serving as the company’s headquarters and primary training center for its 219 dance studios around the world. 

But IPAC is about more than dance. The features of the building lend themselves to serving numerous other artists and groups in the area, whether for music recitals on the performance stage, theatre workshops or even as a recording studio for local artists. It’s also a gathering space for the community to host business functions, club or educational meetings, and other social events. Altogether, IPAC will add $2 million to the tax base along with hundreds of thousands of dollars to the local economy.

The 21,000-square-foot facility still has two spaces available for lease. One is designed for a café to serve the larger community along with the 3,000 people who will visit IPAC each day. The other is a 3,500-square-foot space for another arts-oriented organization. 

Other features of the building include a reception area and public gathering spaces, private offices, a recording studio, a conference room, dressing rooms, a workroom, a food staging area, a birthday party zone, outdoor seating, a children’s play area, bike racks, benches, locker rooms, and seven instructional rooms—three of which convert to one large group training and performance area including a stage.

For Lown, however, the main and most important feature of the new facility will be the people who use it.

“At the studio we always say we don’t teach kids to make great dancers; we teach dance to make great kids,” says Lown. “With a space like this for our kids—and for the community—we’ll be seeing a lot of great people developing skills, talent and character within these walls.”

Registration for fall classes in the new facility is now open for ages 2-18. Visit www.mistysdance.com for a directory of classes and online registration.