The first CLA exhibitions were installed in the window boxes of the Saenger Theatre as part of the “Art Off Centre” series, which ran from 2001 through 2004. In 2003, the Press-Register, Mobile’s daily newspaper, donated its downtown office space to the CLA. Concurrent with the $6 million campaign to renovate the Saenger, the CLA raised an additional $6.2 million to convert the former Press-Register building into Space 301, an art center that includes a 16,000 SF gallery, a studio space for educational classes and programs, and a 180-seat, 2,300 SF terrace used for film screenings, community events, and second stage performances. Space 301 opened to the public in 2003.
In 2011, under the leadership of new Executive Director Robert L. Sain, the CLA launched its new quest of community engagement through the arts. The first two annual cultural initiatives under the CLA’s new vision of unprecedented community engagement are The Memory Project (April—December 2012) and Futures Project (May—January 2014).