Skip to Content

Building Better Arts Facilities

Lessons from a U.S. National Study.

By Joanna Woronkowicz, D. Carroll Joynes, Norman Bradburn

Routledge – 2015 – 255 pages

Series: Routledge Research in Creative and Cultural Industries Management

Purchasing Options:

  • Pre-Order NowHardback: $135.00
    December 18th 2014
    Available for pre-order


At the turn of the 21st century, a significant boom in the construction of cultural buildings took saw the establishment of hundreds of performing arts centers, theaters, and museums. However, many of these cultural organizations struggled to survive after the building was completed, or, alternately, suffered mission drift as the construction project forced monetary or other considerations to be prioritized. Cultural Organizations: Building Arts Facilities in U.S. Communities examines the ways organizations planned and managed building projects during this boom, and investigates the organizational operations after projects were completed.

The book answers four fundamental questions in order to better elucidate the decision-making processes that resulted in these cultural facility projects, such as: What are the common themes present in all cultural building projects? How do leaders navigate the decision-making process they must help guide during a major building project? How can we think about cultural building projects from a systematic perspective in order to ensure flexibility and sustainability? How can leaders ensure the successful pursuit of cultural building projects?

Integrating quantitative and qualitative data with case-study evidence based on first-hand observation and in-person interviews, the authors posit that current practices in cultural building very often negatively impact both the health of individual organizations and the cultural sector as a whole. They offer evidence and analysis to highlight better practices for managing and leading cultural building ventures. This study will be meaningful to all those who are interested in sustaining and stabilizing the cultural sector and the cultural vitality of the U.S. in the decades to come.


An original empirical investigation of the problems of cultural infrastructural projects that asks uncomfortable questions, and provides effective answers to them, for students, academics and practitioners alike.

Clive Gray, Associate Professor, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick, UK

An important landmark in our reflection on the role and place of cultural facilities in the development of a rich, diverse and above all sustainable cultural landscape. By combining solid statistical data with a challenging analysis of qualitative aspects such as leadership, mission statements or political context, and by confronting success stories with real disasters in various fields (ranging from centers for performing arts to museums), this book succeeds in offering an indispensable tool for the creation or the implementation of cultural facilities. (Jan Baetens, University of Leuven)


Introduction 1. Two Case Studies 2. The Rise of the Performing Arts Center 3. The Southern Boom 4. Not Just Big Cities 5. Museums 6. Conclusion Afterword

Author Bio

Joanna Woronkowicz is an assistant professor of nonprofit management and arts administration in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, Bloomington, USA. She previously served as the Senior Research Officer at the National Endowment for the Arts.

D. Carroll Joynes is a Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, USA. He co-founded the Cultural Policy Center and served as executive director for its first ten years. With Norman Bradburn, he is currently serving as director of the research project Cultural Infrastructure in the United States.

Norman Bradburn is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the faculties of the University of Chicago’s Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, Department of Psychology, Booth School of Business and the College, USA, and a Senior Fellow at NORC, also at the University of Chicago. He is co-director of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators project and principal investigator of the CPC’s Cultural Infrastructure project.

Name: Building Better Arts Facilities: Lessons from a U.S. National Study. (Hardback)Routledge 
Description: By Joanna Woronkowicz, D. Carroll Joynes, Norman Bradburn. At the turn of the 21st century, a significant boom in the construction of cultural buildings took saw the establishment of hundreds of performing arts centers, theaters, and museums. However, many of these cultural organizations struggled to survive...
Categories: NonProfit Management, Leadership, Building Project Management, Community Planning and Planning Techniques, Arts Administration, Heritage Management & Conservation, Cultural Studies, Tourism Planning and Policy