Dr. Phillips Center: Strategic Planning, Program Design and Implementation


AMS first worked in Orlando in the 1990s; undertaking a comprehensive analysis of existing cultural activity, arts and cultural infrastructure and resources, arts impact, and programming potential in the Orlando area. In 2006, AMS was again invited to work with the community to explore the possibility of developing a new performing arts center to replace the aged Bob Carr Auditorium.

The first phase of the project, a $387 million, 330,000 square foot building including the Walt Disney Theater, Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, Seneff Arts Plaza, the School of Arts, and ancillary facilities opened on November 6, 2014. Completion of the second phase of construction, which includes Steinmetz Hall and the Green Room, is anticipated in 2020.

In 2015, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Florida Hospital announced a partnership to transform its School of Arts into the School of Arts & Wellness. The collaboration is intended to support research, curriculum development and delivery of a leading arts and wellness education program to further the health, well-being and quality of care for all of greater Orlando’s citizens, and serve as a national exemplar for the growing field.

AMS was engaged to guide strategic planning for this partnership, and conducted research on industry best practices and exemplars, an exploration of the local context and opportunities, and identified initial program recommendations. Suspending efforts during the Center’s second construction phase, AMS resumed work with an Advisory Committee to confirm priorities for an initial, collaborative study in late 2017.

AMS worked with teams from Florida Hospital and the Dr. Phillips Center to confirm program design, create a study curriculum, and develop an implementation plan. In the fall of 2018, the team launched a joint behavioral study which examines whether a performing arts class will improve the well-being of primary unpaid caregivers of people with dementia. The resulting study uses sample size analysis to determine the adequately sized intervention and control groups, well-defined statistical methodology, and a well-documented intervention that can be easily replicated. The study is expected to conclude in late 2019.

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