Much of Partners’ work on Arts in Sacred Places is grounded in space sharing. However, there are many more benefits to the program.
For artists and arts organizations:
- Access to an affordable (and often dedicated) “home” space for rehearsal, performance, educational programming, administration, fabrication, storage, and other uses.
- A built-in community of people who may become audience members, donors, volunteers, or other kinds of stakeholders.
- The potential to raise funds jointly with a faith community to address common needs surrounding space, administrative staff, and other areas of capacity building.
For faith-based communities:
- Ready partners who can help enliven and maximize the use of your space, while offering programming that is beneficial to your community.
- A new community of potential stakeholders, volunteers, and general supporters for your space and programs – even if they are not of (or never convert to) your faith.
- Additional operating income from leases and rentals, as well as the potential to raise funds jointly to support capital, endowment, and other needs.
Shiloh Baptist Church, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, and Brat Productions
In the spring of 2012, Philadelphia dance company JUNK, led by choreographer Brian Sanders, and theatre company Brat Productions, led by co-artistic directors Madi Distefano and Lee Ann Etzold, entered into a lease at Shiloh Baptist Church for 4,300 square feet of space in which to move their rehearsal, office, and some performance operations.
The church is located close to Center City Philadelphia at 21st and Christian Streets in a rapidly developing neighborhood with a community that is very friendly to artists and has been very supportive of the partnership. Both arts organizations are at a point at which having a dedicated public space is necessary for building audiences and contributors, and the partnership will make administration more efficient and cost-effective. Shiloh has garnered the surge of energy, income, and public attention that will hopefully lead to increased investment in preserving and maintaining the church’s historic campus.
First Baptist Church and Off-Broad Theatre Consortium
In the fall of 2011, a group of small Philadelphia theatre companies – the Off-Broad Theatre Consortium – entered into a lease for about 5,000 square feet of space in the former parish hall of First Baptist Church at 17th and Sansom Street. Three Off-Broad companies now operate their rehearsal, educational programming, administration, storage, and public programming from the church’s space.
First Baptist is located in the hear of Center City, where many performing companies cannot afford to present their work due to the proliferation of large, expensive, or over-booked venues. The Off-Broad Theatre companies are all at a point in their development when they need a space around which they can build an identity for their growing audiences. First Baptist has secured a passionate set of partners, as well as enhanced revenue streams and the funding attention of the cultural community, which we hope will keep this historic church and its congregation healthy as it heads into the 21st century.