Performing arts centers : does uptown culture stimulate downtown vitality?

Date
2013-10-07
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American English
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Degree
Ph.D.
Degree Year
2012
Department
School of Liberal Arts
Grantor
Indiana University
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Abstract

Performing arts centers have been touted as a strategy for revitalizing downtowns by increasing activities that bring in residents with higher incomes, tourists, arts employees, educated workers, and housing. Despite their popularity, civic leaders have encountered complexity in these projects, from financial challenges, to delayed openings and operating deficits. Previous downtown studies examine public facilities, such as stadiums and cultural institutions, through essays, surveys, case studies, or by quantifying transactions exchanged between the public and the facility. This dissertation focuses solely on performing arts centers, excluding all other forms of public facilities and cultural venues, by examining self-collected data on literature-based characteristics of 218 downtowns with and without performing arts centers, all over a seven-year period of time. It was hypothesized that the presence of a performing arts center would contribute to increases in the values of all downtown revitalization characteristics, and community characteristics, as well as organizational attributes of the performing arts center itself (age, size, and revenue types) would in turn, increase the values of the overall health of the performing arts center. Through the use of multiple linear regressions, this research shows that performing arts centers can play a role in revitalizing downtowns. This research also shows that a single characteristic is not solely responsible for revitalizing downtowns; rather, the increased vitality results from a confluence of the characteristics. Endogeneity tests show that a performing arts center is less likely to enter a deserted downtown bereft of vitality. Instead, performing arts centers serve as harbingers of revitalization, confirming the presence of downtown vitality, before they proceed to activate vitality further. Finally, through the use of binary logistic regressions, community characteristics are identified in order to determine the conditions of downtowns that would be most equipped to open a performing arts center, as compared with downtowns that could not.

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Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
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