Developing an Arts, Entertainment and Education Cluster in Washington County, Maryland On Behalf of Washington County Arts Council/ Arts, Entertainment & Education Taskforce By: AnirbanBasu Sage Policy Group, Inc. October 9, 2012
Objectives of the Study • Conduct in-depth research of the Washington County’s arts and educational community; and • Provide recommendations designed to promote the arts, entertainment & education and encourage economic development.
Approach • Collection of the community’s demographic and economic data using public and proprietary sources; • Study of art consumers’ tastes and characteristics; • SWOT analysis; and • Focus groups involving key community stakeholders in the business, government, arts, entertainment and/or education sectors.
Existing Arts, Education and Entertainment Infrastructure There are numerous arts, entertainment and education institutions in the community, including: • Washington County Museum of Fine Arts (WCMFA); • Maryland Theatre; • Maryland Symphony Orchestra (MSO); • University System of Maryland at Hagerstown; • Barbara Ingram School for the Arts; and • Many other small art galleries and museums near downtown Hagerstown (i.e., Washington County Arts Council Gallery and Jonathan Hager House & Museum).
Characteristics of the Community: Demographic and Economic Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Characteristics of the Community: Demographic and Economic Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau .
Characteristics of the Community: Demographic and Economic Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau (for educational attainment); Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment rate)
Public Participation in the Arts in the U.S. • In 2008, National Endowments for the Arts (NEA) conducted Survey of Public Participation in the Arts (SPPA) to investigate the characteristics of the attendees of “benchmark” art activities (jazz/classical music concerts, performing arts and festivals, operas and musicals, plays and ballet performances). The findings include: • Nearly 50 percent of adults art participants possessed a college degree or higher; • Nearly 70 percent of art participating adults reported annual income greater than $50,000;and • Cohorts of population 35+ accounted for a large share of attendees at classical music, opera, jazz, and ballet performances. By contrast, Latin music, festivals and musicals are more frequently attended by younger cohorts. Source: National Endowments for Arts. 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Based on Figure 3-2 of the report.
Public Participation in the Arts in the U.S. (cont.) Implication: A typical art consumer is likely to be a relatively older person with a high income and higher educational attainment. The characterization of art patron is not fully compatible with the demographics of Hagerstown where arts, education, and entertainment infrastructure is concentrated. However, potential art consumers could be found in larger numbers in the balance of Washington County and of course beyond county boundaries. Source: National Endowments for Arts. 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. Based on Figure 3-2 of the report.
Spending Patterns of Arts Consumers • In 2007, Americans for the Arts published Arts & Economic Prosperity III, a survey of more than 6,000 art institutions and their attendees nationwide. Survey results include summaries regarding visitor spending patterns. • Visitors to art institutions spent an average of $27.80, of which 46.8 percent was spent for meals and refreshments: Source: American for the Arts (2007). Arts & Economic Prosperity III.
Percentage of respondents indicating participation in various artistic activities, 2008 Source: Maryland State Arts Council. The 2008 study by Maryland State Arts Council found that Marylanders engage in various art-related activities.
Washington County Artist Study by Frostburg University • Study was conducted with multiple purposes in mind, including: • Investigating the current art industry in Washington County; • Understanding the needs of artists; • Professional artists and students at the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts were surveyed. Survey questions embody topics such as: • Artists’ identity (e.g., gender, race/ethnicity, age, specialty); • Artists’ impression of the current county art scene; and • Useful areas of assistance. Source: ‘Washington County Artist Study’, authored by Renee Millburn, Rachel Kern, Robert Shawley, Brad Alexander and Nithin Shetty
Frostburg University Study: Several Key Findings From Local Artist Survey • 22.3 percent of those surveyed consider themselves full-time artists;1 • 46.4 percent of respondents stated that sufficient demand for their art or their performance represent their most significant financial challenge;2 • Sales revenue made by the local artists: • 72 percent of the respondents made less than $10,000 from their art work (44.1% made between $1 and $9,999 while 27.9% made nothing);3 • Areas of meaningful support: • 46.4 percent of respondents stated that they need help selling their work; 34.8 percent stated that they need help on promotion and marketing; 75 percent stated that they would benefit significantly from training in business/marketing topics, such as accounting, taxation, legal issues, business planning, and career strategy;4 • 46.7 percent of the local artists surveyed sell their artwork online;5 • 45.1 percent indicated a need for assistance with web site development and 37.3 percent with creating an internet strategy.6 Source: 1.‘Washington County Artist Study’, authored by Renee Millburn, Rachel Kern, Robert Shawley, Brad Alexander and Nithin Shetty, p.32; 2. Id. P.32; 2. Id., p.29; 3. Id., p.23; 5. Id., p.33; 6. Id.
Focus Group Findings • Hagerstown should be the core of Washington County’s arts, education, and entertainment cluster: • Downtown Hagerstown has critical mass of arts, education, and entertainment infrastructure; • High volume of foot traffic thanks to working population, USMH and Barbara Ingram School for the Arts 2. The arts, education, and entertainment cluster needs better coordination to fulfill its potential • The community should form a consistent vision regarding the appropriate direction of its own future
Focus Group Findings, cont. 3. Successful development of artistic & cultural assets requires rejuvenating the local retail environment • The City lacks nocturnal entertainment as well as retail variety; • Parking is/is not an issue. 4. Arts and entertainment district would benefit from improved marketing and branding • The City’s assets should be marketed under more uniform themes. 5. Target visitors with higher income • Not trying to be snobbish, but upper income population will be critical; • The City should oversee the creation of housing opportunities for higher income individuals and families downtown. *3. and 4. are also findings in the Frostburg Study.
Focus Group Findings, cont. 6. Alter the City’s image • Many agree that the downtown Hagerstown is associated with negative images. This is mainly due to visibly distressed areas, concentration of low-income households and informal business establishments; • City residents have intensely negative attitudes towards their own communities. 7. Active involvement of government is critical • Local governments (both City and County) should strive toward an environment more conducive to the formation of arts and entertainment cluster – implies streetscaping and public-private partnerships with upscale developers.
The Central Importance of Coordination Coordination, Coordination, Coordination: • Most successful arts efforts are led by a single, prominent arts council responsible for coordination; • Government or quasi-government agencies typically involved in the arts include the local visitor’s bureau, the tourism department, public schools, and the economic development department • 71 percent of local arts agencies partner with their Convention and Visitors Bureaus.
Recent Development in Downtown Hagerstown Revitalization Effort… • Since 1996, the City of Hagerstown has invested $18 million in developing the city center. It is estimated that the city’s investment has leveraged more than $65 million in additional private and public investment, including the $23 million construction of the new Free Library and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.;1 • New stadium project: $30 million investment to construct new stadium in the core of downtown Hagerstown.2 • It is contemplated that the stadium will be open for other uses as well;3 • The new stadium will have 4,000-4,500 seats with maximum accommodation capacity of approximately 6,000 spectators;4 • It is estimated that the new facility will attract 224,000 visitors a year. Combined with the number of visitors to the new Free Library and other events in town, downtown Hagerstown will enjoy nearly a million visitors a year once the new stadium is in place;5 • In September, it was announced that there is a donor who agreed to give $15 million for the project.6 Source: 1. MUSEC Ambassadors, ‘Multi-Use Sports & Events Center: Fact and Information’, p.2; 2. Support Downtown Hagerstown, ‘Why Downtown? The Role of a Multi-Use Center in Downtown Revitalization’; 3. Id.; 4. Id.; 5. Id.; 6. C.J. Lovelace. (September 19, 2012). ‘Donor’s ability to give $15 million for new stadium is in question.’ Herald-mail.com
Challenges still Remain for Stadium Project… • Parking?: A parking study done by consultant has found that there are enough parking spaces to accommodate visitors to the stadium; • Traffic?: One study has shown that stadium traffic should be manageable; • State Funding?: It is contemplated that one-third of the project’s costs will be addressed by the State of Maryland. Governor and Comptroller have been essentially non-committal; Should the local government be responsible for the balance of financing – what is the risk?1 • Will the Hagerstown Suns Stay?: The Washington Nationals, Hagerstown Sun’s current affiliate, did not renew the team’s player development contract. The current contract expires at the end of the 2012 season. City officials are working toward securing a memorandum of understanding (bilateral or multilateral agreement) with the Suns to ensure that the team will stay.2 Source: 1. Jonathan R. Burrs. (August 17, 2012). ‘Question aplenty about downtown, multiuse center’ Herald-mail.com. 2. Id.
Recommendations 1) Focus art promotion efforts in downtown Hagerstown • Hagerstown represents the economic core of Washington County; • Hagerstown has the greatest concentration of art assets in the county; • 11 out of 35 arts and cultural sites of Washington County are located in Hagerstown; • Downtown Hagerstown must be transformed – focus on a few blocks first.
2) Deconcentrate Poverty in downtown Hagerstown • Investors and key stakeholders agree that the lack of spending power in downtown Hagerstown is a deterrent to investment in the arts and entertainment in Hagerstown; • Downtown incomes must be raised as a prerequisite for the formation of a full-fledged arts, education and entertainment cluster in Washington County; • To create a vibrant art community, the community needs to create an atmosphere that attracts residents/art patrons with higher income and educational attainment; • Results in more demand for art.
3) Create a Community Arts Commission/Downtown Partnership • Hagerstown and Washington County should set up a Community Arts Commission that will: • Coordinate through joint marketing efforts and website development/management; • Coordinate schedules; • Advocate for the cluster.
4) Create an Arts Incubator • Upon reviewing various studies, Sage determined that: • Arts incubators are important in assisting and attracting artists; • The presence of artists leads to business formation, greater demand for real estate and a greater sense of vibrancy in the community; • The Washington County Arts Council should provide technical and educational services for resident artists; and • Dedicated space is required for resident artists to interact, including with the general public. • Potential sites: • 59 West Washington Street (old Susquehanna building) • 13-17 South Potomac Street • Massey Building
5) Intensive & Coordinated Marketing of the County’s Cultural Assets • Market the county’s cultural assets by: • Creating a cultural website that provides information regarding events, dates/complete calendar, times, ticket availability, and other relevant information.
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