Broadway Center For the Performing Arts Programs
The Broadway Center is recognized for its leadership in performing arts education, strengthening our community and preserving Tacoma's historic theaters.
The Broadway Center impacts the lives of 35,000 children and teachers annually, making our Arts Education Program one of the most impactful in our state. It’s not just the numbers, but it’s HOW we are reaching students and teachers, and the DEPTH of work. Offering six different programs, our education program reflects the mixture of needs within our service area of the South Puget Sound. One such program is Broadway YEAR: Youth Expressive Alternative Response—A Violence Intervention Project. Created in partnership with Pierce County Government, master teachers will work to set at-risk youth on a new trajectory—away from bullying and other antisocial behavior and toward self-esteem, emotional integrity and a positive view of life.
Giving Access to Those Who Cannot
The Broadway Center looks at our entire populace and addressing the needs of those who cannot afford programs. This access makes what we do relevant to the rich diversity that represents who we serve. In the last five years, more than 27,000 free tickets have been distributed through social service agencies to low income patrons (including children, families and seniors)—a value that exceeds $1 million.
Stewarding the Past and Energizing the Future
Since 1918, 9th & Broadway has been the intersection of community gatherings AND commerce; of art AND social engagement. The Broadway Center cares for and grows this historic spot in Tacoma, and is crucial in leading and energizing the renaissance of downtown Tacoma.
Today, the Broadway Center is more deeply relevant than at any time in our 30-year history because of our commitment to access and diversity. Our programming mix, marketing channels, pricing strategies and even venues have changed radically in the last six years in direct response to input from historically underserved communities. As a result, audiences are notably younger and more ethnically diverse. We have had positive cash flow every year in spite of the recession, and are more financially stable than ever.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
Since we began Community Dialogues in 2007, diversity of on-stage programs have grown to become 60% of all offerings. However, underserved groups have asked us to produce a low-cost festival featuring local artists and community members. On October 8-9, 2011, 200 artists performed in 75 free performances in 6 venues over 2 days as part of the Broadway Center’s first “Fall Free For All”. 5,000 people attended, including large numbers of seniors, families, young adults, faith communities and GLBT groups. It was a highly diverse crowd ethnically, as well, with representation of our many communities of color (including African American, Asian, Latino and Native American). An artistic highlight was Voices of the City—in which 19 diverse Tacomans shared their stories about their lives and relationships with this place. These programs directly address significant cultural and economic barriers that stifle participation and introduce audiences to new art forms.
Through the Broadway YEAR program (described above) we have gone into 13 of the most economically challenged and geographically isolated schools in Bethel School District. Several hundred at-risk students have discovered and shared healthy alternatives to violent behaviors such as bullying, cutting, and suicide. No child is ever turned away because of the inability to pay. Because of the location and the lack of student subsidy, this is the most expensive education program to run, yet has the most impact on children of the greatest need.
Another major challenge is part of what we are most proud of: the age of our theaters. While we are proud of our historic legacy, expansion and capital improvements are necessary and costly as we look to the future.