Opening in September 1996, the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo was a unique venture between the City of San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly, and private fundraising through the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center. Seeing the need for a large community performance space, generous donors contributed $12.5 million of the $30 million needed to complete the building, with the largest gift being a contribution of $2.1 million dollars from entrepreneur Christopher Cohan. In his honor, the new building was named the Christopher Cohan Center. Together, the Christopher Cohan Center and Spanos Theatre make up the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo complex.

The completion of the Performing Arts Center provided a venue that has enabled our resident performing arts companies to grow and mature in sophistication and capability, now routinely executing world-class events. The exhilaration of performing in Harold Miossi Hall is an unforgettable experience for community artists. The partnership that formed to create the building and maintain it since 1996 is still effective today. The Foundation, the City, and Cal Poly continue to keep the hall as affordable and accessible as possible for our community groups and audience members, while keeping the facility in impeccable condition.