The History of the Art Center of Corpus Christi Building

Looking Back at the Art Center of Corpus Christi’s Building

The history of the Art Center’s building, which began as the USO in 1941

a historic photo of the Art Center of Corpus Christi Building before renovation

100 North Shoreline Boulevard, c. 1941-42 | Photo provided byCorpus Christi Public Libraries, La Retama Special Collections & Archives

Before the bayfront building housed the Art Center of Corpus Christi, 1941 brought both the opening of the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi and by association, the USO. The second oldest in the nation, the South Texas chapter was established on April 2, 1941, weeks after the commissioning of NAS-CC. 

This building on Shoreline was built as the USO in 1941; two years later City Council designated a block of land south of the building as parkland that became what is now known as Sherrill Veterans Memorial Park. The park was dedicated to Warren Sherrill, who was the city’s first casualty of WWII. While the park has continued to serve its purpose as a place for patriotic gatherings, the USO’s building met a different fate.

As the needs of local military families changed following WWII, the USO no longer occupied the bayfront property. The building went on to serve the community, including as the county tax office and a City Hall annex. It began to show its age in 1983 when it was put up for demolition.

But the members of the Art Community Center didn’t see a decrepit building on the bay; they saw a prime location to bring their art to the public. After a major fundraising effort, the group raised $360,000 to secure the building and went on to do a major renovation in 2000. To this day, it continues to serve as home to what is now the Art Center of Corpus Christi, bringing artists’ processes and their art to the public. 

Interested in more stories from local art institutes? Check out An Ode to the Art Museum of South Texas.