In today’s American culturescape, the performing arts center (PAC) is often the anchor arts institution and a key contributor to local economic rejuvenation.
The PAC delivers short-term fiscal impact with its ongoing schedule of events drawing visitors whose spending in the surrounding commercial milieu creates a “ripple effect” that circulates revenue throughout a network of restaurants, retail shops and event-related service providers from parking lot attendants to street buskers.
But when the PAC is not hosting a major concert or show event, how else can it advance the community’s push toward long-term economic growth?
Union County Performing Arts Center has been a top-tier economic generator in Rahway, New Jersey, since opening in 1928 as the nation’s first “million dollar” movie palace. Reconstituted in 1985 as a 1,334-seat multi-genre concert venue, UCPAC and its sibling spaces (199-seat Hamilton Stage, 65-seat Loft) annually present more than 300 events encompassing a wide range of music, dance, theatre, film and comedy shows.
As a core member of the Rahway Arts District, UCPAC’s staff and Board of Trustees have found several ways to enhance the District’s development with programs that increase interaction between the arts center and the community.
WE’VE ALL HEARD the sales mantra, “ABC: Always Be Closing”.
For cultural organizations in 2015 seeking to aid local economic revitalization efforts, that mantra becomes“ABC: Always Be Cultivating”.
The contemporary PAC must find new ways to let more potential patrons know it is not only a spot for occasional entertainment … but a valuable and versatile resource for reshaping their community on a daily basis.
— Lawrence E. McCullough, Ph.D. is Executive Director of Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway, New Jersey. For information on the center’s history and schedule of events, visit www.ucpac.org.