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Modeling New Partnerships

February 8, 2016

February 8, 2016 — While artists of every kind make impactful contributions to their communities, many struggle with sustaining their careers and finding affordable space for their practice. Conversely, there is a surplus of unused space in worship centers and historic sacred spaces. In a recent study led by Arts Administration professor Neville Vakharia in partnership with Partners for Sacred Spaces, research was conducted in Austin, Baltimore, and Detroit, focusing on space-sharing relationships between performing arts organizations and houses of worship that have room to share. The report defines a new model for how these two sectors can innovatively work together.

Led by Professor Vakharia and Karen DiLossi, Director of Arts in Sacred Places, the Three City Arts Study asked: how can artists be more integrated into communities and neighborhoods? How can they serve as creative entrepreneurs, building both social and financial capital? New data was gathered on artists and sacred places to understand both the facility needs of both sectors as well as the attitudes towards partnerships that have potential for catalytic change. While the three regions were selected for their diversity and representation of a range of demographic and economic circumstances, the findings have national implications.

“The real value of this project is in putting our research into action. An innovative program model is one of the key findings we developed. This model provides a structured method by which our hypothesis can be fully proven and enacted, providing a new approach to addressing issues facing artists and historic sacred spaces,” Professor Vakharia writes in the report’s introduction.

The scalable, replicable model gives a blueprint for matching small to mid-size dance, theater and music organizations having space needs with historic sacred places that have available space.

The Three City Arts Study builds upon Partners for Sacred Spaces’ successful Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places (AiSP) program. Headquartered primarily in Philadelphia and Chicago, Partners for Sacred Spaces acts as a matchmaker and facilitator for partnerships. Partners also has strong expertise on adaptive re-use of vacant religious properties, leading design charrettes, community and political engagements, and business and funding plan development.

This project is supported in part by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.