Sacred Places Spring 2013 - Page 11

UPDATE on Partners: Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places APASO and Dance USA Since Making Homes for the Arts in Sacred Places (AiSP) began two years ago, Partners has reconnected with New Dollars graduates to help them share space with arts groups while also introducing ourselves to the arts community. Though Partners has over two decades’ worth of experience with congregational and faith groups, we wanted to find ways to connect with strong arts partners. To that end, Partners has started to establish ties with arts-service organizations throughout the country. Timing is everything in the arts and the timing of our efforts to find new networks was perfect as the Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations (APASO) held its annual conference in Philadelphia in 2013, with Partners as part of the Host City Committee. We garnered interest in and support for our arts programming from cities like Baltimore, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. We are excited to know that there are potential partners for us from coast to coast. At a charrette held to brainstorm ideas for the best way to adapt a former elementary school into the nation’s first Theatrical Design Center, participants use floor plans to map out how to reconfigure classrooms into production and fabrication spaces. Partners is also serving on the committee for Dance USA’s national conference this summer. We are looking forward to discussing the needs of dancers from across the country as we explore more spaces for rehearsals, experiments, and performances. With these two new connections, Partners is positioning itself as a key organization for serving artists nationally. Theatrical Design Center In our pursuit of innovation, Partners is establishing the Philadelphia Theatrical Design Center, funded in part through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge. The first of its kind in the country, the center will provide co-working space for theatrical designers, as well as laboratory, experimentation, and fabrication space that is critical to any designer’s success. The Design Center will provide opportunities to collaboratively create new work that will benefit the greater Philadelphia theatre community and its audiences. Partners is collaborating with Culture Works Greater Philadelphia on the launch and implementation of the Design Center. We wanted to understand what aspects of the center were most essential and how to configure the site – the former elementary school building of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church (OLMC) – in the most effective manner, allowing room for growth, change, and possibly third-party renters. To accomplish these goals, Partners hosted a charrette to discuss layout and outfitting of the building, which will be shared with 1812 Productions, the region’s only all-comedy theatre company. Partners enlisted the assistance of Bob Reid, architect and associate at Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site, to guide the charrette, held in March at the Design Center’s new home. Participants included staff from Partners, Culture Sacred Places • Spring 2013 • 10