In the winter of 2013, AMS Planning & Research was engaged by Longwood Gardens to explore the potential for performing arts venues as an essential component of Longwood’s Visionary Master Plan. Through an array of “listening,” “learning” and “thinking” exercises, AMS guided staff on a journey through reflection, research and re-imagination. The year-long planning process (which included staff workshops, board and staff interviews, focus groups and online and intercept surveys) allowed the Longwood team to deconstruct their approach to the performing arts and rebuild a future picture anchored in a shared definition of success, an assessment of current programs, analysis of market demand and a comprehensive understanding of the opportunities.
As a result, the team developed an internal performing arts vision to serve as a decision-making lens. In order to respond to this vision, emerging priorities for the performing arts at Longwood Gardens and to ensure organizational alignment, AMS introduced a “curatorial construct” to serve as a guide. Next, with assistance from project partner, Fisher Dachs Associates, existing venue renovation and new construction recommendations were presented, including preferred facility characteristics and components, subsequent square footage, and proposed activity. These scenarios were also aligned with the recommendations of the Visionary Master Plan.
Finally, to illustrate the operational implications of a new facility on Longwood’s Performing Arts Department, AMS prepared a financial model which responded to the nuances of the new programmatic vision and approach. A final report was presented to Longwood’s senior management team.