A cultural facility is a building used primarily for the programming, production, presentation, and/or exhibition of cultural disciplines—such as music, dance, theater, literature, visual arts, and historical and science museums.
Funding for cultural facilities is usually comprised of public support through taxes and private sector resources. In the past two decades, cultural facilities have been seen by artists, arts organizations, government officials, urban planners, and communities as key anchors to the revitalization of distressed communities.
Many arts organizations are using renovated older or abandoned buildings for their businesses and/or performance spaces, particularly in urban areas. Adaptive reuse is a term that provides new facilities to residents, enlivens neighborhoods, and gives locals a greater sense of ownership over a facility, while also combating sprawl and increases real estate values in the neighborhood.
Local Arts Agencies (LAAs) and Facilities:
- Local arts agencies often have separate professional staff to manage their facilities.
- One half of the nation‘s local arts agencies manage a cultural facility in their community 54 percent of the responding LAAs report that they manage at least one cultural facility (e.g., performance, exhibition, or incubator space).
- Private, nonprofit LAAs are more likely to manage a cultural facility than are public, government LAAs.
- Private LAAs typically receive a larger portion of their total funding from earned revenue than do public LAAs, and cultural facilities often generate revenue through rental fees.
Conversely, many municipally owned cultural facilities are operated under a dedicated line item in the municipal budget and therefore fall outside the umbrella of a public, government LAA.
Performing Arts Centers
Performing arts facilities range in size—from scores of seats to thousands. Most performing arts centers contain varied performance spaces, and often each space is designed for a specific purpose such as symphonic music, theater, dance, etc. Their operating budgets range from thousands to millions of dollars. Some performing arts centers act as sole presenter for events, using the venues within the center but also frequently rent their performance spaces to other performing arts presenters or self-presenting performing arts groups.
Artist Live/Work Spaces
A “live/work” project is a residential building in which each unit has extra space (usually 100-150 square feet) that the artist can use as a studio. Other design elements, such as high ceilings, large windows, durable surfaces, and wide doorways, accommodate a wide variety of creative processes. Many live/work projects also include common spaces that encourage cooperation and community involvement.
Artist live/work spaces have contributed significantly to the revitalization of communities. Recognizing the positive contributions of contact with artists in a community, municipal leaders and nonprofit developers are converting older buildings into affordable, long-term housing for low-income artists. Mixed-use facilities are also common, potentially combining artist housing and work space, exhibition and/or performance areas, and retail areas.
Exhibition and gallery spaces are spaces designed specifically for the display of art and/or historic items. Local arts agencies manage these spaces to provide opportunities for local artists to display and sell their work and operate exhibition spaces as part of the city or county cultural heritage/history activities. Often these spaces are also used as small performing venues for local artists.
Local arts agencies manage both history and art museums. These facilities host permanent exhibits for educational or artistic purposes and are open to the public on a regular basis.
Incubators create a nurturing environment for small and emerging arts organizations by offering low-cost or subsidized space and services. They provide shared office equipment, telephone, computers, and copy machines. They emphasize organizational development by offering consultation and training. Each incubatoris uniquely tailored to meet the needs of the community.
A multiuse facility is not dedicated to one art form or discipline. Many multiuse facilities have a cluster of arts activities such as dance studios, theaters, galleries, and classrooms. Some facilities also host recreational activities as part of their use.
- American Association of Museums
- Association of Performing Arts Presenters
- The American Institute of Architects
- Artspace USA
- Nonprofit Finance Fund
- League of Historic American Theatres
- Theatre Communications Group
- National Trust for Historic Preservation
- National Endowment for the Arts
- Kresge Foundation
- Leveraging Investments in Creativity