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Cape Cod Times: Music to the Ears?

September 30, 2018

Over the years, a variety of groups have pursued the elusive idea of creating a world-class performance center here on Cape Cod that could serve as a home for the Cape Cod Symphony while also functioning as something of a cultural magnet for other groups that may otherwise bypass the region. Plans have sometimes come tantalizingly close to moving from concept to reality, but something seems to always arise at the 11th hour to derail the effort.

 

Oceanside Performing Arts Center, or OSPAC, represents the latest organization to chase the dream. The group envisions a world-class auditorium that can seat up to 1,400 patrons, with a mixture of convention and classroom spaces to accommodate additional private and public events. OSPAC also hopes that the space would serve as an economic engine, as performing arts centers have done for other communities, helping to drive commerce and consumerism in the region, while also providing good-paying year-round jobs and another venue for local artists to showcase their talents.

For example, the positive impact of arts and culture in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, region topped $41 million in 2011 and $58 million in 2016. The Tanglewood summer music festival in Lenox brings more than $103 million in economic activity to the Berkshires each year – up about 70 percent from 2008 estimates.

 

OSPAC also knows exactly where it hopes to transform its dream into reality: a 46-acre parcel adjacent to the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center, currently serving as the Twin Brooks Golf Course, putting it roughly in the same neighborhood as the Sturgis Charter Public School West Campus and the Cape Cod Melody Tent.

 

Organizers must know that they are treading on well-worn ground in terms of the dream, but that does not seem to be any deterrent. The group has announced a five-year plan that anticipates a 2023 opening date. The work between now and then, however, will be considerable. Knowing that a project of this size and scope will have a dramatic impact on the area, the group has wisely pledged to work with all stakeholders, including abutters and neighbors, as part of a coordinated effort to assuage any concerns before they become possible stumbling blocks. Obviously, trying to anticipate every potential objection before it emerges is something of a wild guessing game, but keeping the lines of communication open throughout the process will doubtlessly help diffuse a lot of the friction before it starts to heat up.

 

To pay for this grand effort, OSPAC sees a two-tiered fundraising effort. The group has begun phase one of a capital campaign, seeking to raise $5 million to fund the purchase of the property and help cover the costs of contracting with an architect to transform concepts into actual designs as well as hire consultants and fund necessary feasibility and impact studies. It has also secured $200,000 worth of funding through a recent state economic development bill. The price tag for phase two remains unknown at this point, as organizers note that absent architectural plans, it is difficult to anticipate final building costs.

 

And, in a move that could be considered as bold from a financial perspective as the entire project is from an artistic one, the group also wants to create an endowment fund so that the center can operate with zero debt. If successful, such an endowment fund would likely be the envy of just about every nonprofit organization in the Western hemisphere, including more than a few here on Cape Cod.

Without question, the OSPAC vision for the artistic future of the region is an expansive one. With a combination of indoor and outdoor events, the performing arts center would offer a premium location that would rival the seating capacity of the Cape’s largest existing spaces, with only the nearby seasonal Melody Tent edging it out in any significant way.

 

It is difficult to say at this stage whether organizers will be any more successful in bringing their dream to fruition than previous dreamers, but those questions should not deter them from pursuing a vision that could build on the Cape’s already impressive artistic community.

To access the full article, click here.

Over the years, a variety of groups have pursued the elusive idea of creating a world-class performance center here on Cape Cod that could serve as a home for the Cape Cod Symphony while also functioning as something of a cultural magnet for other groups that may otherwise bypass the region. Plans have sometimes come tantalizingly close to moving from concept to reality, but something seems to always arise at the 11th hour to derail the effort.

Oceanside Performing Arts Center, or OSPAC, represents the latest organization to chase the dream. The group envisions a world-class auditorium that can seat up to 1,400 patrons, with a mixture of convention and classroom spaces to accommodate additional private and public events. OSPAC also hopes that the space would serve as an economic engine, as performing arts centers have done for other communities, helping to drive commerce and consumerism in the region, while also providing good-paying year-round jobs and another venue for local artists to showcase their talents.

For example, the positive impact of arts and culture in the Portsmouth, New Hampshire, region topped $41 million in 2011 and $58 million in 2016. The Tanglewood summer music festival in Lenox brings more than $103 million in economic activity to the Berkshires each year – up about 70 percent from 2008 estimates.

OSPAC also knows exactly where it hopes to transform its dream into reality: a 46-acre parcel adjacent to the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center, currently serving as the Twin Brooks Golf Course, putting it roughly in the same neighborhood as the Sturgis Charter Public School West Campus and the Cape Cod Melody Tent.

Organizers must know that they are treading on well-worn ground in terms of the dream, but that does not seem to be any deterrent. The group has announced a five-year plan that anticipates a 2023 opening date. The work between now and then, however, will be considerable. Knowing that a project of this size and scope will have a dramatic impact on the area, the group has wisely pledged to work with all stakeholders, including abutters and neighbors, as part of a coordinated effort to assuage any concerns before they become possible stumbling blocks. Obviously, trying to anticipate every potential objection before it emerges is something of a wild guessing game, but keeping the lines of communication open throughout the process will doubtlessly help diffuse a lot of the friction before it starts to heat up.

To pay for this grand effort, OSPAC sees a two-tiered fundraising effort. The group has begun phase one of a capital campaign, seeking to raise $5 million to fund the purchase of the property and help cover the costs of contracting with an architect to transform concepts into actual designs as well as hire consultants and fund necessary feasibility and impact studies. It has also secured $200,000 worth of funding through a recent state economic development bill. The price tag for phase two remains unknown at this point, as organizers note that absent architectural plans, it is difficult to anticipate final building costs.

And, in a move that could be considered as bold from a financial perspective as the entire project is from an artistic one, the group also wants to create an endowment fund so that the center can operate with zero debt. If successful, such an endowment fund would likely be the envy of just about every nonprofit organization in the Western hemisphere, including more than a few here on Cape Cod.

Without question, the OSPAC vision for the artistic future of the region is an expansive one. With a combination of indoor and outdoor events, the performing arts center would offer a premium location that would rival the seating capacity of the Cape’s largest existing spaces, with only the nearby seasonal Melody Tent edging it out in any significant way.

It is difficult to say at this stage whether organizers will be any more successful in bringing their dream to fruition than previous dreamers, but those questions should not deter them from pursuing a vision that could build on the Cape’s already impressive artistic community.

To access the full article, click here.

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