Organizers of the new Juneau Arts and Culture Center (JACC) are finished with the “quiet” fundraising period and are ready to make some noise.
In a presentation to the Juneau Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, three representatives for the new JACC detailed the fundraising process, the economic benefits of the center and the design of the building itself.
John Clough, one of the organizers, said the new JACC is about to become a reality and it’s time for the fundraising process to kick into gear.
“That’s why I’m up here talking to groups like you,” Clough said. “We’re here trying to get the word out about exactly what’s happening with this project because we’re about to start the active part of the fundraising.”
As of now, the organizers have raised just shy of 20 percent of the project, which is estimated to cost around $26 million when all is said and done. The construction project is estimated at $19 million. That construction process is slated to start in April 2018, Owner’s Rep and Program Manager Bob Banghart said Thursday. He estimated the construction process would take between 18 and 20 months to complete.
Peter Jurasz, another of the organizers, said he hopes that the entire price tag can be covered through private donations instead of state or city funding. He’s “cautiously optimistic” that this can happen. Clough said there are chances for organizations or even individuals to earn naming rights with donations, whether it’s the whole center or the individual rooms. He said there are basically three prongs to the new JACC’s fundraising events, and with the quieter portion now in the past, the next two parts are about to start.
“We have this great chunk of money already from the ‘quiet’ part,” Clough said, “but now we’re actively working with naming opportunities, we’re going to be starting with our ground campaign in a month or two, which is gonna be at a more local level, probably for smaller amounts.”
At Thursday’s presentation, Clough presented a few studies that showed that cultural centers can actually drive economic growth. He pointed to the Arena Stage Theater in Washington, D.C., an example of a community growing as a result of a cultural center.
The McDowell Group, a marketing consultant in town, did an economic feasibility study into both how the cultural center would fare and how it would affect the community. The study showed that not only could the cultural center be functional, but could be “economically self-sustaining within three years of opening its doors,” Clough said.
Part of the reason for this expectation of growth is the high demand the JACC’s services. The JACC was in use for 352 of the 366 days in 2016, and 40,000 individual visitors attended the JACC for a show or other event (2016 was a leap year, hence the extra day). The current building, which was built as an armory in 1959, just doesn’t have the capacity to comfortably host that many people any longer, the organizers said repeatedly throughout their presentation.
With a new center, one that includes more seating and more venues, Clough and the other presenters see the new JACC would serve not only those who appreciate the arts in town, but the whole community.
“That’s what we’re looking for the new JACC to be,” Clough said, “an economic engine for Juneau.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at firstname.lastname@example.org.