June 12, 2012, Los Angeles—The Broadway Arts Center, a proposed mixed-use development containing a blackbox theater, an art gallery, creative commercial space, and affordable housing for artists in Downtown L.A., is envisioned as a vibrant anchor for the city's Broadway Cultural Quarter. The ambitious project is closer to reality today, thanks to a substantial grant from ArtPlace.
An overarching design for the Broadway Cultural Quarter by Pritzker prize winning architect Thom Mayne and Morphosis Architects will link the Broadway Arts Center project with a potential Downtown facility for the California Institute of Arts (CalArts)  School of Theater , and point the way for future arts-based developments within the Historic Broadway Corridor, the focal point of Councilmember José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative. The Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, a non-profit service organization for performing arts professionals, and Artspace, an organization dedicated to create affordable space for artists and arts organizations, have formed a partnership to develop and manage the Broadway Arts Center.
The City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) will receive a $470,000 grant from ArtPlace for this critical pre-development work. ArtPlace, a new national collaboration of 11 major national and regional foundations, six of the nation’s largest banks, and eight federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, is designed to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S. To date, ArtPlace has raised almost $50 million to work alongside federal and local governments to transform communities with strategic investments in the arts.
"Across the country, cities, and towns are using the arts to help shape their social, physical, and economic characters," said NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman. "The arts are a part of everyday life, and I am thrilled to see yet another example of an arts organization working with city, state, and federal offices to help strengthen and revitalize their communities through the arts. It is wonderful that ArtPlace and its funders have recognized this work and invested in it so generously."
The Broadway Arts Center is one of four Los Angeles projects funded by ArtPlace in 2012 and among the 47 creative placemaking initiatives nationwide supported by the collaboration this year. Cornerstone Theater Company, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and the Esperanza Community Housing Corporation are also receiving ArtPlace support.
The Broadway Historic Theatre and Commercial District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, boasts the largest concentration of historic theaters in the nation, with 12 vaudeville houses and movie palaces located within nine blocks. But since the heyday of the 1920s and 30s, most have been inactive or used for discount markets and other non-entertainment purposes. And while Downtown LA. has enjoyed a renaissance, Broadway continues to struggle with a 15-20% ground floor vacancy rate and more than 1 million square feet of vacant space on the upper floors. The Bringing Back Broadway initiative is spearheading much-needed public infrastructure projects, transit improvements and economic development to revitalize the corridor. The Broadway Arts Center promises to bring new vibrancy to the community as an integral part of this effort.
“This generous grant from ArtPlace breathes new life into the Historic Broadway Corridor,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "The Broadway Arts Center will rejuvenate the largest historic theater district west of the Mississippi and secure the success of Downtown LA.”
“The fact that the Broadway Arts Center is one of only 47 award recipients out of thousands of applicants nationwide exemplifies the importance of this project, not only for historic Broadway and Downtown Los Angeles, but on a national level,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “The Broadway Arts Center will be a model for utilizing the arts as a catalyst for revitalization in historic districts and we’re proud of the public/private partnership making this a reality.”
Creating a new cultural anchor for a neighborhood is also the focus of SCI-Arc’s creative placemaking project, which received the next largest ArtPlace grant in Los Angeles of $400,000. The Arts District, located in the eastern portion of Downtown, is a burgeoning artists’ community located in an industrial district. In recent decades, after the downturn of the industrial economy, this community has experienced new investment in the form of residential development and new creative businesses.
SCI-Arc’s campus is directly across from the site of a future subway station, which will serves as the new public entrance to the neighborhood. The ArtPlace grant will go towards the planning, design, and construction of two community arts stages and arts programming for a third venue on the campus, bringing new excitement and foot traffic to the neighborhood.
“The Los Angeles projects receiving ArtPlace funding exemplify the best in creative placemaking,” explained ArtPlace Director’s Carol Coletta. “They demonstrate a deep understanding of how smart investments in art, design, and culture as part of a larger portfolio of revitalization strategies can change the trajectory of communities and increase economic opportunities for people.”
ArtPlace received almost 2,200 letters of inquiry from organizations seeking a portion of the $15.4 million available for grants in this cycle. Inquiries came from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In September, ArtPlace will release a new set of metrics to measure changes over time in the people, activity, and real estate value in the communities where ArtPlace has invested with its grants.
Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Robina Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, and an anonymous donor. In addition to the NEA, federal partners are the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife, and Morgan Stanley.
A complete list of this year’s ArtPlace awards can be found at artplaceamerica.org .
The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) generates and supports high quality arts and cultural experiences for Los Angeles’ 4 million residents and 25 million annual visitors. DCA advances the social and economic impact of the arts and ensures access to diverse and enriching cultural activities through grant making, marketing, public art, community arts programming, arts education, and partnerships with artists and arts and cultural organizations in neighborhoods throughout the City of Los Angeles.
DCA’s operating budget and managed portfolio totaled $38.2 million in fiscal year 2010/11. It consisted of: $9.5 million in funds from the Public Works Improvements Arts Program (PWIAP); $8.9 million in City related and indirect cost allocations; $8.7 million from the Private Arts Development Fee Program (ADF); $7.7 million in Transient Occupancy Tax funds; and over $3.4 million in private and public funds raised from foundation, corporate, government, and individual donors.
DCA significantly supports artists and cultural projects through its Public Art Division by administering a portfolio totaling $18.2 million in PWIAP and ADF funds in FY10/11. DCA’s Marketing and Development Division raised over $16.9 million since FY07/08 to re-grant to LA-based artists and arts and cultural organizations for special grant initiatives and to support DCA’s special programming and facilities. DCA also grants approximately $2.2 million annually to over 280 artists and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations through its long-established Grants Administration Division.
DCA provides arts and cultural programming through its Community Arts Division, managing numerous neighborhood arts and cultural centers, theaters, historic sites, and educational initiatives. DCA’s Marketing and Development Division also markets the City's arts and cultural events through development and collaboration with strategic partners, design and production of creative catalogs, publications, and promotional materials, and management of the culturela.org  website visited by over 3 million people annually.
Director of Communications
Council District 14
Will Caperton y Montoya
Director of Marketing and Development
Department of Cultural Affairs