There has been a lot of information developed about possible inclusion of arts and/or cultural aspects at the MSH site. Early on there was a highly polished, thoughtful, and well developed Cultural Visioning Presentation made to the MSH-MPC (see copy here). There is also the nearby example of the Hopkinton Center for the Arts, which seems to be doing extremely interesting things in a town with similar demographics.
Earlier this month I asked one of the foremost proponents of integrating cultural and arts at the MSH site, Jean Mineo, about the issues, and she shared with me the following email:
Thanks for asking!
Louise Stevens, the consultant who met with us in December suggested the following to support our efforts considering where we were at the time:
- Work with the Medfield and surrounding arts and cultural organizations and individual creative sector entrepreneurs to determine the ways in which the facility(ies) can meet needs and growth plans/opportunities:
- Review of other prospective users from the creative sector within New England, done through on-line surveying distributed broadly to the cultural sector through available list serves, to determine if organizations and entrepreneurs from outside the Medfield area might potentially move to the campus.
- Review of the facility in the context of space needs to determine viability and fit.
- Comparison analysis of similar facilities (adaptive reuse of church buildings) and campuses (historic campuses) for the purpose of developing budgetary models as well as models of annual visitation/use, revenue sources, programming, and impacts on tourism and local economy.
- Market analysis and competitive analysis to determine the geographic service area and niche for the proposed cultural center.
- Gap analysis within a market area (size to be determined) to evaluate what could best fit into the facilities/grounds.
- Partnership analysis to determine other potential synergistic user groups/uses.
- Programming, financial, operating, staffing and governance modeling.
- (Potentially) essential cost estimates for capital planning purposes.
This estimate at the time was $24,000 but she already did part of this when she met with us for the full day, and we’ve done some of this on our own. In addition, we’d now collaborate with VHB who could be helpful in the cost estimates. I’ve had follow up conversations with Louise about our progress. That’s where my estimate of $10-20k comes from. I think we’d be closer to the $10k if we are able to coordinate with VHB. If this happens after they are done with their analysis part, the price may get closer to the $15-20 range.
Gil and I read her work / plan she completed with the Hopkinton Center for the Arts and were both very impressed. The plan is the reason why they were able to raise $450k from the MA Cultural Facilities Fund. I’d say that’s a sound investment. The issue with funders (I’ve spoken to three about funding this) is that they have no commitment that culture will be included at this time.
If the preferred plan indicates SOME area / portion of MSH for culture, we (or the town) could apply for a grant from MA Cultural Facilities Fund (2014 deadline was Nov. 21), grants are announced the following March. Timing is definitely an issue when working with funding agencies. I’m not entirely comfortable with that strategy however, without some back up like the proposed market analysis. Louise also has a track record of finding partners on these projects – a valuable skill for us. However, I am open to using another consultant.
I know it’s not chump change – but it also seems like a small investment if we sincerely want something different from the MSH project and for our town.
I appreciate your helping to think about this and I’m happy to talk to anyone or present to anyone –