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THE VISION "Creating something remarkable for Florida's Capital City"

As our community grows, we must decide how we want to grow and who we want to become. Do we want to provide an enriching cultural environment for those who live and work here? Do we want to enhance our already strong educational community by bringing in a key performance arts based component? And if so, are these notions supported by the people who live and work here?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

The community strongly supports a Performance Arts Center. Having a performing arts center is widely supported by this community. In fact, nearly three quarters (74%) of city residents in a City of Tallahassee poll, said that building such a center was an important priority and the City should invest in this project.

Community leaders also support this project. In 2003 a diverse group of citizens appointed by the City and County Commissions submitted a cultural plan to the community. Both Commissions adopted it. The top priority of the plan was a performing arts center.

In 2004, a study group was appointed by both Commissions with respect to facilities, to pursue planning for a center. In 2005, the group recommended a two-venue facility to be built on the 2.65-acre block bordered by Gaines, Duval, Madison and Bronough streets.

Our community needs the Center. We need it to enhance our economic, education, and entertainment future. Our community needs a new performing arts and education center to support economic diversity, to enhance our educational infrastructure and to provide the kind of entertainment we are sorely lacking.

Economic needs. We are no longer a sleepy southern town. As such, we can no longer rely on the stability of state government to drive our economic engine. The Center will be a major draw and economic stimulant to creating a vibrant and economically energized downtown. Imagine the dramatic impact on the Gaines Street revitalization that 300-600 downtown events per year will have. It will not only jumpstart the redevelopment of this transitional region, it will stimulate both housing and retail sectors and will serve as a vital bridge between our two universities, our community college and our government center. Undoubtedly the growing number of new downtown retail spaces, most of which now stand empty, will also benefit from the scores of annual events the center is expected to bring.

City-County planners and commercial realtors have determined that this project could potentially be both the anchor and the engine for our community's investment in Gaines Street Redevelopment. Nationwide, performing arts centers have ignited or re-ignited transitional areas like our Gaines Street corridor. A study (March 2007) by the RAND Institute found that in 11 metropolitan regions, cultural institutions like performing arts centers are a vital component of community economic development and neighborhood revitalization strategies.

Education. Like a museum, an art gallery, or a library; a performing arts center can act as vital “out-of-classroom” learning environment for grade-school students. With matinee performances, lectures from visiting performers and the opportunity for local children to witness and experience exceptional talent up close, the Center will enhance our top-notch school system.

Not only do more than 90% of Americans believe that the arts are essential to a well-rounded education (Harris Poll 2005) but academic research strongly supports this notion as well. A compendium of studies assembled by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASA) in conjunction with the Arts Education Partnership showed a strong and direct link between art and academic achievement. Additional studies have also found that art instruction may be uniquely effective in raising the achievement of at-risk students.

The Center can also enrich and be enriched by our exceptional university-level artists. With a world-class film school, and nationally recognized music and performance arts colleges there will be limitless opportunities for the Center to integrate and collaborate with our Universities, our Community College and their respective performance leaders.

Entertainment. In addition to the standard S.O.B.'s (symphony, opera and ballets), we clearly have the need for a better venue for Broadway and other traveling shows. In the past we have been fortunate to have the use of facilities at both universities and our community college. But the growing pressure for these institutions to serve their own students makes community use less and less available. As such, the capital of this state will essentially be without an available and usable quality concert hall.

Improving the future of our entire community. Our downtown stands at a crossroads. With the finalization of Cascades Park and the unexpected vacating of prime downtown acres, we are presented with an unprecedented opportunity to make our downtown truly unique and truly special. We can build or encourage yet another commercial venture, another hi-rise, or even another government building. We can build something that will blend into our surroundings and put us on a trajectory of mediocrity.

Or we can be bold.

We can build something that will re-define and re-ignite our downtown as well as our entire county. We can build something that will help secure our economic future while enhancing both our educational and entertainment futures.

It's time to act. A performing arts center has been a priority of this city since the Civic Center Authority was created in 1972 and even went to referendum in 1993. Multiple government-appointed organizations and community groups have all put a new performing arts center as a leading priority.

As we have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in the Johns center vacancy, as we have strong community support, as we have a strong need to ensure the success of the Gaines Street revitalization. The time to act is now.

Mission: To develop "Florida's stage" where people enjoy the

  • performing arts
  • culture
  • history
  • education and
  • community events