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Wed September 11, 2013
Arts Council Reveals Plan for Downtown Theatre District in Winston-Salem
Earlier this year, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County received a $30,000 State Arts Council SmART Initiative grant. And on September 10th, the Arts Council released its report and proposal for art-driven economic development in downtown Winston-Salem. The report lays out a conceptual plan for a Downtown Theatre District centered on Spruce Street between Fourth and Second Streets.
“We call our project a visionary, conceptual plan”, says Winston-Salem attorney and Chair of the report committee, Greg Scott. “We wanted to say right up front that there is nothing carved in stone about what we’re presenting to the community today. This effort could easily span a decade, and this report is a kick start, we hope, to promote discussion and collaboration that result eventually in an expanded and enhanced downtown theatre district in Winston-Salem.”
The plan includes a new public library, a 500-700 seat theatre to replace the current Arts Council Theatre on Coliseum Drive, a National Black Theatre Hall of Fame, renovations to the Stevens Center, and a new downtown park. Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the NC Arts Council, anticipates that the new theatre district would have a significant impact on the entire community.
“The SmART initiative is an effort to utilize the rich arts assets and traditions of North Carolina in economic development. And the term I like to use, it’s an effort to create quality of place. We used quality of life for years in the arts, and that is true, but more and more quality of life is translating into quality of place.”
The projects have an estimated cost of $80 million. This investment, Scott says, would result in 2,977 new full-time jobs, $2,482,044 in annual local government revenue, and $4,150,238 in annual state government revenue.