The City of Carlsbad has a need for a 400- to 600-seat flexible performance space that could host local and national performers, festivals and civic functions, a consultant told the City Council Tuesday.
If built as part of a new City Hall project, the venue could also provide a space for council meetings. The recommendation was one of the conclusions of a cultural facilities needs assessment conducted by Webb Management Services, Inc., a New York development, planning and consulting company, under a contract with the city.
The consultants analyzed existing facilities in Carlsbad and the surrounding region in North County and found most were small or medium-sized, able to hold no more than 400 people – and had little to no availability. Their study also noted that the city’s outdoor performance facilities are temporary locations in parks, and that the city has a lack of available studio spaces for artists.
The consultants offered four recommendations:
Develop a high-quality, state-of-the-art facility that can hold as many as 600 people.
Include spaces for rehearsals, cultural programs and instruction.
Create an outdoor performance and event venue that can support major events and festivals and perhaps as many as 3,000 people. When not in use, this space could serve as a plaza or park.
Develop an industrial art space with kilns for ceramics and the equipment to create fiber art, woodworking and jewelry.
“One of the most intriguing aspects of their report was the acknowledgment that audience’s tastes lean more toward multi-tiered events combining, performance, food, music, etc.,” said Richard Shultz, the city’s cultural arts manager. “This indicates the need for future spaces to factor in the changing perceptions of arts events as social experiences.”
The consultants noted that the first three recommendations could be integrated into Carlsbad’s still-developing plans to build a new City Hall.
The city is analyzing potential sites for a new City Hall that might include new public gathering and recreation spaces and an arts venue, and city officials said they will use the study as they assess potential sites.
The consultants analyzed demand in the city and found 12 cultural organizations would be interested in using a new performing arts facility in Carlsbad. The study indicated that these groups need a space with room for rehearsals, flexible seating, dressing rooms, a catering kitchen and a lobby and box office.
The study said high education and income levels in Carlsbad and the surrounding area show potential support for such traditional performing arts as ballet, theater, opera and classical music. It also noted that tourism, which is expected to increase, also provides potential audiences for a wide variety of events.