JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — A Johns Creek Cultural Arts Center is one step closer to becoming a reality; the task force has hired a nonprofit consultant to study the financial feasibility of such a facility.
The Cultural Arts Center Task Force, a subgroup of the Cultural Arts Alliance at Johns Creek, recently announced Convergent Nonprofit Solutions will study the feasibility of building a multi-use arts space in Johns Creek.
Building a theatre to house the city’s performing arts groups, such as the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, Johns Creek Chorale and North Atlanta Dance Theatre, has long been a vision of many community leaders.
Advocates hope the financial feasibility study will help them launch a fundraising campaign. Wayne Baughman, chair of the Johns Creek Cultural Arts Center Task Force and director of the Johns Creek Symphony Orchestra, said he is “boldly optimistic.”
“I am hopeful we will see in the not too distant future the ability to raise the kind of money that will be needed,” he said.
The kind of high quality, multi-use facility the task force envisions comes with a multimillion-dollar price tag.
Last year, a professional study completed by Webb Management Services developed a rough plan for an arts center with a 600 to 800-seat auditorium, rehearsal space, a catering kitchen and a new home for the Johns Creek Arts Center, combining visual and performing arts under one roof.
An ideal space would have flexible seating in the auditorium, so the facility could be used for business meetings, weddings and a variety of performances. Such a building would cost upward of $50 million, not including the cost of the site, Webb estimated.
Still, given the affluence of Johns Creek and the strength of the arts in the area, Baughman and other advocates are hopeful the money can be found.
“We’re in our third year of talking and now we’re beginning to do significant things,” he said. “There is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Webb study was funded with hotel-motel tax revenue with the unanimous approval of the Johns Creek City Council, and in March this year, the council passed a resolution in support of the project.
However, the council has indicated that they’re not likely to make a large financial contribution to the project in the near future.
Funding for the Convergent study has been provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, due in large part to the efforts of Commissioner Liz Hausmann. Convergent representatives expect to begin their work by mid-July and will present their final report before Thanksgiving.
The Cultural Arts Alliance and Johns Creek Arts and Culture Board began working on the project in 2016. Baughman said the project has come a long way from pie-in-the-sky conversations in coffee shops a few years ago.
“As I compare our project with similar projects across the country, we’re a little longer than some but we’re shorter than most,” Baughman said. “It is a long process. All of these things begin with quiet, behind-the-scenes conversations and they develop over years.”
Baughman said those interested in supporting the project should spread the word about it and look out for fundraising opportunities later this year.
“No contribution is insignificant,” Baughman said. “This is going to be a people’s project. This is going to belong to the people.”