- $1 annual lease by owner Lansdale Borough to the recommended 311 Arts governing nonprofit, Discover Lansdale.
- 37 visitors a day
- 1,041 registrations for classes
- 153 classes
- 7,771 tickets sold
- 130 private events
- Open 60 hours a week
- 90 activities a week
- Seven full-time staff
- 26 percent in donation revenues
- 33 percent in personnel expenses
- $2 million in revenue when at or close to capacity
Burnham has been hired by Lansdale Borough to develop a building plan, business plan for projects and events and a fundraising plan for 311 W. Main St. That third part is in the hands of contracted firm Schultz and Williams, whose consultants will work with Burnham for 311 Arts.
Discover Lansdale for GovernorBurnham reported to council Wednesday that the business plan is a way to "turn a downtown anchor into a place of revitalization."
First and foremost, nonprofit Discover Lansdale is recommended by Burnham to have ultimate financial responsibility and oversight of 311 Arts.
"The nonprofit Discover Lansdale has agreed to provide the governance for 311," she said. "Under their leadership, a separate 311 Arts board will be formed to provide operating guidance for the new organization and its management."
The board, she said, would have full financial responsibility. Discover Lansdale and the board will work together to find an executive director.
Lansdale Borough, she said, as owner, will lease the building to Discover Lansdale for $1 per year. Lansdale Borough will be hands off on operation and management.
"During the startup of the organization, in-kind support for utility costs would be a significant way for the borough to help the organization get off the ground," she said.
Open for BusinessShe said 311 Arts could have 90 activities a week, including visual and performing arts pieces, literary, cooking and acting classes, performances, meetings, conferences and special events.
The building should be open 60 hours a week, she said, and not on Mondays. Mondays are reserved for cleaning and maintenance, she said.
The cafe will be dedicated as open public space, she said.
"You cannot be an economic generator if you are not open," Burnham said.
Top revenues are estimated to be donations, performances, classes and rentals. Top expenses would be personnel, building upkeep and programming, per the business plan.
The overall budget included a conservative estimate of $2 million in revenue, if the building is used at or close to capacity.
"The objective with the operating budget is to achieve the level of financial stability in balance with the services and programs it needs to provide in order to meet the organization's mission," Burnham said.
In year one, the operating budget is projected to be more than $553,000 at full operation, Burnham said. At this level, programs are only in 20 percent to 25 percent of building capacity.
"The organization could operate comfortably at this level for several years," she said.
Of the $553,000 annual budget, $302,000 is fixed costs. And half of that is the cost of utilities.
In the beginning, there would be seven full-timers at 311 Arts.
In one year, and on the $533,000 budget, Burnham projects 311 Arts to hold 153 classes or workshops, 130 private events, and 160 performances, across the three venues proposed in the building.
In one year, Burnham estimates 1,041 registrations, representing 400 individuals, she said.
In one year, more than 7,770 tickets would be sold, at about 60 percent of them being $10 or under.
Total attendance: 20,000 people, or 37 visitors a day. Burnham expects most of that attendance to come from outside Lansdale, from people living in towns like Doylestown, Jenkintown and Ambler.
A Silver Linings Playbook, Eh?The plan is based on the Canadian concept of creative placemaking: the use of arts, civics and culture to transform neighborhoods and boost economy on the local level.
(ArtScape, a Toronto nonprofit, takes old buildings and, like a good piece of art, shapes them into affordable artist housing and studios, per Keystone Edge.)
People, Burnham said, "experience places that have" creative placemaking and "see the desolation of those that don't."
"We must generate economic activity to contribute to the economic development of Lansdale as a whole," she said.
311, 311 Make Me A MatchThe playbook will tap into those 87 percent of people who attend art events for the socialization, she said. While the vast majority of participants do this, the quality of the art and the quality of the venue is what makes them come back, she said.
Creative placemaking is about the creation of talent and passion in the community, via sharing, organizing around and self-creating similar interests.
"So, 311 becomes a creative matchmaker, matching people of like interests with people with knowledge and expertise," she said.
Then, the community and its visitors can embrace "the entire continuum of the arts when and how they wish.
"Meeting your writer friends in the morning for a cup of coffee and sharing your latest pages, trying hand at floral design, going to a lunch and theater show, hearing a local band after work, catching a classic film on the big screen, or going to an opening night performance—meetings with over 50 artists and educators this past July showed a breadth and depth of expertise, resources and potential partnerships that are just waiting to be tapped," she said.
"The possibilities are endless, depending on the interest of the community," she said.
Strategies for SuccessOne strategy in 311's viability: Build cultural diversity, such as hosting the International Spring Festival.
Second: Be a home for artists and cultural groups, offering jobs, residences, space and presentations in a social setting.
Montgomery County, she said, has more than 380 small arts groups alone.
The third strategy in the playbook is a model of social enterprise.
Burnham said the borough should leverage the building as a resource to generate revenues that can support arts activities.
"311 (should be) entrepreneurial in nature and compeitive in the local and regional marketplace," she said.
Social enterprises, she said, are businesses operated by nonprofits that generate income by selling a service with a social or cultural value.
"Profits, instead of personal gain, go to public mission," Burnham said.
Economic Impact on LansdaleIn year one, Burnham estimates $553,000 in revenues and $598,000 in additional audience expenses, like transportation, parking, dining and babysitting services.
By year 10, those numbers increase to $850,000 in revenues and $1 million in additional expenses, for a total impact of $1.9 million, she said.
Jobs will increase from 35 in year one to 56 in year 10, per the plan.
The state makes out pretty good too by Burnham's estimation: $142,000 in revenues in year one and $233,000 in year 10.
Lansdale's 'Leap of Faith'Burnham said -$73 million is the net outflow from Lansdale. Of that, $15.6 million is in food service expenses alone.
"Capturing 15 percent of the $15 million leaving every year would fund the art center," Burnham said.
She said 311 Arts has the potential to generate thousands of visitors and $1 million a year, but it is going to take a lot of work, commitment and "a leap of faith."
Former 311 W. Main Task Force Chairman Councilman Mike Sobel said one of the biggest things for 311 Arts was that government does not run the arts facilities.
"You start off as when you start a business: there is an initial investment, they stand on their feet and government participation goes down," Sobel said.
Mayor Andy Szekely asked, for comparison, for the rough split between public and private partnerships as it relates to Abington Arts Center. Burnham said the manor housing Abington Art Center was bestowed to the township. The governing organization has raised more than $2 million in fundraising, as funding from the government accounts for 3 percent of the operating budget, she said.