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Official: Performing arts center could bring significant economic value to Frisco

A Frisco performing arts center has been in discussions for many years, and Hall Park developer Craig Hall said he is considering entering a public-private agreement with the city of Frisco to make the center a reality.

Frisco has more than 30 arts organizations, and Hall said he envisions an arts center that would be accessible for Frisco residents and arts groups that are looking for a home to perform. Show Full Story

“I think it’s really important [that the center] serve the local groups of Frisco, and the details of all that depend on what the city wants and what the organizations want,” Hall said. “I don’t think [the center] has a chance if the organizations aren’t involved.”

Frisco Arts executive director Tammy Meinershagen said local arts organizations will be an integral part in helping move the project forward by providing a voice for the arts community.

“I see Frisco Arts as the citizen champion of this project, and I definitely consider [Craig Hall] to be the business champion,” Meinershagen said. “If we were to have an arts district in Frisco, it would definitely be at Hall Park.” Hall Park is home to more than 200 pieces of art and the Texas Sculpture Garden.

Hall said before a decision is made, a feasibility study needs to be done to determine the economic impact of an arts center. Hall said he hopes the study can begin this year.

A recent study by Americans for the Arts, a national arts organization based in Washington D.C., found that the arts and culture industry in North Texas generated $1.4 billion in annual economic activity in 2016. That figure is an increase of more than $100 million from when the study was last conducted in 2012.

The city of Richardson, which is the home of the Charles W. Eisemann Center for Performing Arts, was included in the study for the first time in 2016. According to the study, Richardson’s arts and culture generated revenue of $20.6 million for the city in 2015.

Katherine Wagner, CEO of the Dallas-based Business Council of the Arts, said the study shows the critical role arts and culture can play in national, state and local economies.

“[The study] shows how vibrant North Texas is, which is good, because we were able to show that the arts are a great economic contribution and it should be that way in a region that is one of the fastest-growing regions in the country,” Wagner said.

Wagner said because Frisco has a strong sports tourism component, the addition of a strong arts district will continue to add to the economy.

Brad Sharp, who is the Frisco public art board chair and has sat on the board of several local arts and culture organizations, said uniting Frisco’s athletic and arts communities will have a “profound impact.”

“[A performing arts center] will have immense social, cultural and economic benefits and make us truly competitive as a regional and national destination for tourism and corporate relocation,” Sharp said.

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