More than 300 people signed a letter to the City of Bloomington administration, supporting the continued use of the Waldron building at 122 S. Walnut for arts & cultural purposes.
Ivy Tech has owned the building for several years, and recently announced plans to return it to the city. That transaction is expected to be completed in August.
The petition, organized by Arts Forward Bloomington, in part asks the city to keep the building's "current function as an arts center, particularly a performance venue available for public use.”
Sean Starowitz, the city's assistant director for the arts, told the Chamber that a public engagement process will be held later this year to get input on the building's future use.
Click here to see the Arts Forward Bloomington press release, with a full text of the letter and a list of signatories.
As part of an effort to revise its strategic plan, the Bloomington Arts Commission is seeking feedback via an online survey.
The brief survey takes 2-5 minutes to complete. It asks several freeform questions about your awareness of the commission, what you'd like the commission to do for the city's residents, and what the commission might do to become better known in the community.
Click here to take the survey.
The commission's 2017-2019 strategic plan is available online here.
At their quarterly meeting on Jan. 14, Arts Forward Bloomington held a forum focused on transportation issues that affect local arts organizations.
The group heard from Michael Shermis, the City of Bloomington's special projects coordinator, about current transportation-related activities, including a grant from ADA Indiana used to train people who are elderly or with disabilities how to use Uber.
Beth Rosenbarger, the city's planning services manager, discussed transportation issues in the context of the city's comprehensive plan and transportation plan.
The group discussed what kind of incentives might be offered by local arts organizations to encourage patrons to use alternative forms of transportation when coming to events, rather than driving a car. Ideas included offering free concessions for people who walk, bike or take the bus. The possibility of changing three parking spaces in front of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater into a drop-off/pick-up zone was also discussed.
In general, Arts Forward Bloomington wants to make sure the voice of the arts community is heard on a range of issues affecting the health of that sector.
Arts Forward Bloomington will hold its next forum in April, focusing on space needs for arts organizations. The group's steering committee includes Danielle McClelland, former director of the Buskirk-Chumley Theater; Gabe Gloden, Managing Director of Cardinal Stage; Ken Buzzard, President of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra; Susan Swaney, Artistic Director of Voces Novae and Founder of Sing for Joy! Senior Choir; and Kay Olges, Board President for Windfall Dancers.
Arts Forward Bloomington is hosting a quarterly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 14 that focuses on issues related to transportation and the arts.
Topics will include the status of local parking and transportation plans, as well as ways that arts organizations and local government can partner to increase accessibility to those with transportation needs. The discussion also will address how to incentivize patrons to consider alternate forms of transportation.
The meeting is free and open to the public. It begins at 7 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood. Click here for more information on the AFB Facebook page.
As part of its Better Together – Creative Places Initiative, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County is seeking applications for $20,000 in grants to activate or create public spaces that advance a more vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive community.
Proposals will be accepted from organizations that are designated as 501(c)(3) entities or that fall within the category of an exempt organization, such as schools, governmental units, and religious organizations.
Projects proposed should:
Click here for more information on how to apply. The application deadline is Feb. 29, with grants awarded in April 2020.
The City of Bloomington is conducting a survey to assess the space needs of organizations and individuals in the Bloomington Entertainment & Arts District (BEAD) .
The survey takes about 3-5 minutes and will close on Nov. 27.
BEAD is a state-designated cultural district that's overseen by the City of Bloomington's Department of Economic & Sustainable Development. It is an area in downtown Bloomington that includes a variety of cultural venues, including the Bloomington Playwrights Project, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater (where the BEAD Info Shop is located), WonderLab Museum, Arts Row and more. Click here to view a walking map of the district.
For more information, go to VisitBEAD.com.
Seven candidates for Bloomington City Council answered questions about support for the arts at a candidate forum on Tuesday, Sept. 17 organized by Arts Forward Bloomington. The municipal election is on Nov. 5.
The group included candidates in the only two competitive races for council: District 2 candidates Andrew Guenther (R) and Sue Sgambelluri (D), and District 3 candidates Nicholas Kappas (I) and Ron Smith (D). Another District 3 candidate, Marty Spechler (I), did not attend.
Others participating were Democrats Matt Flaherty (at-large), Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 5), and Steve Volan (District 6). Democrat Susan Sandberg (at-large) sent a statement that was read by Sally Gaskill. None of these candidates are opposed on Nov. 5 so they will automatically be seated in January 2020.
All candidates expressed strong support for the arts. Many mentioned their own involvement – as patrons or practitioners – and described specific actions they'd support on council to ensure a healthy arts community.
For example, both Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Steve Volan, who currently serve on council, expressed interest in including a new performing arts venue as part of the Monroe County Convention Center expansion.
The event, held at the Waldron Arts Center, was moderated by Danielle McClelland, executive director of the Buskirk Chumley Theater.
During her opening remarks, Danielle reported that the city's expenditures on the arts totaled $773,928. That figure included funding to maintain the Buskirk-Chumley building and support its programming, as well as grants through the Bloomington Arts Commission and a range of other sources.
Click here to see the report on city funding sources for the arts. Click here to watch the forum on CATS.
The Bloomington/Monroe County performing arts sector adds over $4 million annually to the local economy and supports more than 160 jobs here, according to a recent analysis commissioned by Cardinal Stage.
Gabe Gloden, the professional theater's managing director, presented results of the study at the Chamber Speaker Series on July 18.
The analysis focused on three organizations: Cardinal Stage, Buskirk-Chumley Theater, and the Ivy Tech Waldron Arts Center. The economic impact of the entire arts sector would be even greater, Gloden noted.
Other key takeaways:
That last data point should be food for thought, Gloden said, as the community thinks about investing in the arts through ticket sales, sponsorships or grants. If there aren't local opportunities for participating in the arts, this community would be losing revenue – including money spent at local restaurants and hotels – to other areas.
Exposure to the performing arts also has been linked positively to increased civic engagement, improved academic achievement, social and emotional learning, and development of tolerance and empathy.
The study was conducted in the spring of 2019 by graduate students of the Indiana University O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. Click here to read the full report.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy