Performing & Visual Arts Venues Study

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Status Update (January 2, 2024)

Phase 3 of the Performing & Visual Arts Venues Study is complete. Thank you to everyone who participated in the public and/or Indigenous survey. Please stay tuned to this website for future project updates.


Project Overview

The Halifax Regional Municipality has engaged Happy Cities to lead the Performing & Visual Arts Venues Study. The Study is intended to:

  • Improve the municipality’s understanding of professional art venue operations
  • Identify the challenges that existing art venues experience
  • Identify the venue needs of the local arts and culture community
  • Inform the municipality’s long-term approach to supporting, renewing and investing in arts venues

This project centers on professional, audience facing, purpose-built performing and visual arts venues that operate throughout the municipality. While Happy Cities will consider all arts venues that meet the above criteria, the Study will primarily focus on non-profit and municipally-owned art venues because the municipality can do more to directly support these venues.

The Performing & Visual Arts Study will inform the municipality’s planning and decision-making regarding performing and visual arts venues and may ultimately lead to the production of a Professional Arts Venues Plan.


Objectives

  • Determine an effective way to classify performing and visual arts venues within the region
  • Define the political, social and economic context in which local arts venues operate
  • Research art venue trends, participation statistics and/or Canadian case studies that are applicable to the municipality
  • Ensure that the study operates through a diversity and inclusion lens that supports the municipality’s Diversity & Inclusion Framework
  • Create an engagement program to ensure that the study is shaped by local art stakeholders, venue stakeholders and venue users
  • Create an inventory of performing and visual arts venues, in addition to venue mapping
  • Conduct a needs assessment to identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing arts venues, the venue needs of the arts and cultural community and potential measures that would support arts venues in the future
  • Develop a list of actions and/or next steps that the municipality can use to inform their future work and the potential development of a Professional Arts Venue Plan


Project Timeline and Deliverables

1) Research Report (May 2023 - June 2023)

The consultant, Happy Cities, researched key background information to guide the Study. The research will be summarized into a research report that includes content on the local venue context, national venues trends and statistics, municipal case studies and potential issues to explore. This research report will inform the final Study.

2) Core Stakeholder Engagement (July 2023 - October 2023)

Core stakeholders from the region’s art and cultural community (i.e. venues, professional arts organizations, etc.) were consulted on the strengths, weaknesses, gaps and challenges of the local venue ecosystem. Core stakeholders were invited to participate in one-on-one interviews, focus groups and/or surveys. Stakeholders from traditionally underrepresented communities were also specifically sought out for input.

3) Public Engagement (November 2023 - December 2023)

An online survey will offer residents an opportunity to express their needs and preferences for arts venues in the region. A small number of interviews may be conducted to fill any knowledge gaps.

4) Draft Arts Venue Mapping (January 2024)

The consultant will map performing and visual arts venues throughout the region and inventory the features offered by each venue. The map will serve the dual purpose of helping to identify gaps in the current ecosystem and helping those in the arts sector find spaces that meet their needs.

5) Draft Venue Needs Assessment (February 2024)

Happy Cities will complete a draft needs assessment of performing and visual arts venues to identify their strengths and weaknesses, local venue needs and ways to improve professional arts venues. The draft needs assessment will present findings at a regional scale and include needs profiles for focused areas, such as venue type or arts discipline.

6) Final Core Stakeholder Engagement (March 2024 - April 2024)

Happy Cities will conduct a third and final round of engagement, in which core stakeholders will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft needs assessment through an online survey.

7) Performing and Visual Arts Venues Study (June 2024 - July 2024)

Happy Cities will develop the final Performing & Visuals Arts Venues Study, summarizing key findings and providing actions that will guide future venue work.

Status Update (January 2, 2024)

Phase 3 of the Performing & Visual Arts Venues Study is complete. Thank you to everyone who participated in the public and/or Indigenous survey. Please stay tuned to this website for future project updates.


Project Overview

The Halifax Regional Municipality has engaged Happy Cities to lead the Performing & Visual Arts Venues Study. The Study is intended to:

  • Improve the municipality’s understanding of professional art venue operations
  • Identify the challenges that existing art venues experience
  • Identify the venue needs of the local arts and culture community
  • Inform the municipality’s long-term approach to supporting, renewing and investing in arts venues

This project centers on professional, audience facing, purpose-built performing and visual arts venues that operate throughout the municipality. While Happy Cities will consider all arts venues that meet the above criteria, the Study will primarily focus on non-profit and municipally-owned art venues because the municipality can do more to directly support these venues.

The Performing & Visual Arts Study will inform the municipality’s planning and decision-making regarding performing and visual arts venues and may ultimately lead to the production of a Professional Arts Venues Plan.


Objectives

  • Determine an effective way to classify performing and visual arts venues within the region
  • Define the political, social and economic context in which local arts venues operate
  • Research art venue trends, participation statistics and/or Canadian case studies that are applicable to the municipality
  • Ensure that the study operates through a diversity and inclusion lens that supports the municipality’s Diversity & Inclusion Framework
  • Create an engagement program to ensure that the study is shaped by local art stakeholders, venue stakeholders and venue users
  • Create an inventory of performing and visual arts venues, in addition to venue mapping
  • Conduct a needs assessment to identify the strengths and weaknesses of existing arts venues, the venue needs of the arts and cultural community and potential measures that would support arts venues in the future
  • Develop a list of actions and/or next steps that the municipality can use to inform their future work and the potential development of a Professional Arts Venue Plan


Project Timeline and Deliverables

1) Research Report (May 2023 - June 2023)

The consultant, Happy Cities, researched key background information to guide the Study. The research will be summarized into a research report that includes content on the local venue context, national venues trends and statistics, municipal case studies and potential issues to explore. This research report will inform the final Study.

2) Core Stakeholder Engagement (July 2023 - October 2023)

Core stakeholders from the region’s art and cultural community (i.e. venues, professional arts organizations, etc.) were consulted on the strengths, weaknesses, gaps and challenges of the local venue ecosystem. Core stakeholders were invited to participate in one-on-one interviews, focus groups and/or surveys. Stakeholders from traditionally underrepresented communities were also specifically sought out for input.

3) Public Engagement (November 2023 - December 2023)

An online survey will offer residents an opportunity to express their needs and preferences for arts venues in the region. A small number of interviews may be conducted to fill any knowledge gaps.

4) Draft Arts Venue Mapping (January 2024)

The consultant will map performing and visual arts venues throughout the region and inventory the features offered by each venue. The map will serve the dual purpose of helping to identify gaps in the current ecosystem and helping those in the arts sector find spaces that meet their needs.

5) Draft Venue Needs Assessment (February 2024)

Happy Cities will complete a draft needs assessment of performing and visual arts venues to identify their strengths and weaknesses, local venue needs and ways to improve professional arts venues. The draft needs assessment will present findings at a regional scale and include needs profiles for focused areas, such as venue type or arts discipline.

6) Final Core Stakeholder Engagement (March 2024 - April 2024)

Happy Cities will conduct a third and final round of engagement, in which core stakeholders will be given an opportunity to provide feedback on the draft needs assessment through an online survey.

7) Performing and Visual Arts Venues Study (June 2024 - July 2024)

Happy Cities will develop the final Performing & Visuals Arts Venues Study, summarizing key findings and providing actions that will guide future venue work.