City of Bloomington Kicks Off Arts Feasibility Study in Partnership with Trahan Architects, Seeks Public Input
The City has contracted with Trahan Architects to conduct an arts feasibility study in Bloomington following Mayor Hamilton’s commitment to a study announced in May 2021 as part of the Recover Forward initiative to help the community recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The study will include an evaluation of arts facilities and activities in the City and result in a report of recommended strategies for successfully advancing the arts across the City.
For their collaboration with the City of Bloomington, Trahan has gathered a team of experts from entities including Theater Projects, Keen Independent, and Designing for Democracy to ensure that the study is inclusive of all Bloomington residents and that their recommended strategies are equitable.
Representatives from each group visited Bloomington during the week of March 21 to conduct site visits of arts facilities across the City and to meet with City staff and arts representatives to kick off a discussion of the most pressing needs of Bloomington’s arts community. Additional focus groups will be held in April and May to ensure the group is including the broadest group possible in its assessment. Those interested in participating in future focus groups may contact Holly Warren, Assistant Director for the Arts, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-349-3534.
As part of its study, Trahan is conducting a virtual survey, https://bton.in/bRqV6, that all residents of Bloomington are encouraged to take, regardless of their involvement in the arts. The results of the survey will ensure Trahan's recommendations for elevating Bloomington Arts in the future reflect all residents’ needs. The survey is open until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 15.
“The Bloomington arts community is a mainstay of our local economy, and improves our community’s quality of life,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “A feasibility study will consider several options, including the viability of keeping the Waldron as a primary building within the City’s arts ecosystem; determining the potential type, size, location, and cost for another possible new or expanded facility, and exploring options to build a stronger arts community beyond the walls of any one facility.”
The arts feasibility study comes out of the recommendation made by the community-led Waldron Task Force (bloomington.in.gov/news/2021/05/06/4840) that the City undertake a study to assess the feasibility of long-term use of the building. The ownership of the Waldron reverted to the City of Bloomington in January 2021 following its use by Ivy Tech Community College as classroom, performance and display space since 2010. The task force recommended that the City reopen the Center for arts activities, to be managed by third-party management through 2027.
The Waldron’s reopening follows a 21-month closure, during which time the City of Bloomington committed $515,000 to fund the building’s stabilization, upgrades, and temporary management. The arts feasibility study represents an additional $100,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to go toward the support and elevation of the arts in the City.
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