||Five factors consistently impact the environment and context within which a performing arts center operates.
MANAGEMENT. Active management of cultural resources and the downtown environment are key to success. Every organization, whether government, private or nonprofit, must coalesce for the goal of making culture vital to downtown, and vice versa. Bricks and mortar alone will not create a successful, animated arts center. Stakeholders must assess their tasks, then implement strategy. There are many approaches, including creation of an arts/cultural district that can assume responsibility for culture's broader place in downtown.
IDENTITY. It is important to create a strong identity for existing arts and cultural organizations downtown so that each is seen as part of a whole "experience" rather than piecemeal independents. Such an identity provides marketing opportunities and connect complementary uses, such as day and nighttime activities, streets and shops. The identity helps to broaden the appeal of a downtown cultural center.
PARTNERSHIPS. Opportunites to form partnerships with nearby attractions should be mined to realize the full potential and marketability of a cultural center. Whether a sports complex, a convention center or a dining region, every opportunity to link art and culture with existing and planned attractions offer potential for increased success.
INVESTMENTS. In the same way that a cultural center will not thrive independently, nor can it be conceived of and built independently. The process is an excellent opportunity to consider what other investments might be needed to achieve the larger cultural and redevelopment objectives of downtown. For instance, surrounding streets and sidewalks often require upgrades to maximize appeal, and optimally, incorporate an overall urban design concept to connect an arts district. On a larger scale, long-term financial viability of the overall arts market requires attention and investment.
LEADERSHIP. The importance of early and strong leadership cannot be underestimated. All of the most successful arts centers have involved some combination of support from local (and in some cases state) government, business and philanthropic organizations. In many cases, one group rose above others to play an early, critical role in organizing stakeholders and providing a larger vision.
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