Set in Stone

Building America’s New Generation of Arts Facilities, 1994-2008

Joanna Woronkowicz, D. Carroll Joynes, Peter Frumkin, Anastasia Kolendo, Bruce Seaman, Robert Gertner, Norman Bradburn

73 pages, June 2012. Cultural Policy Center at the Harris School and NORC at the University of Chicago, 1155 East 60th Street, Suite 285, Chicago, IL 60637, (773) 702-1999,


   Set in Stone (4.5Mb)

In 2007, just before the domestic economy experienced a major trauma, the Cultural Policy Center at the Harris School and NORC at the University of Chicago launched a national study of cultural building in the United States. It was motivated by multiple requests from leading consultants in the cultural sector who found themselves involved in a steadily growing number of major building projects — museums, performing arts centers (PACs), and theaters — and from foundation officers who were frequently asked to help fund these infrastructure projects. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the authors of this report conducted systematic scientific research on cultural building in the United States between 1994 and 2008.

The research resulted in a number of conclusions on cultural building in the United States, particularly in regard to the inquiries conducted on:

  1. the landscape of cultural building,
  2. the investment determinants of cultural building,
  3. the feasibility of cultural building projects,
  4. case studies of cultural building projects, and
  5. the effects on communities in which cultural projects are built.

These conclusions are explored in detail in the report.