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As the world rapidly changes around us, old frameworks for the development of cultural centers look less and less relevant. Continuing the success of the 2020 “Future of Cultural Centers” dialogue series, this year AIA New York will look at cultural institutions that take a mixed-use approach to programming and space and a more holistic view at the human experience. We will touch on opportunities and challenges around these hybrid organizations, questioning what would happen if we were to take this unprecedented time to explore new missions, visions, and models to help address existing institutional deficits. What will 21st-century arts and community spaces be like? Join us for this Spring line-up of conversations as cultural forecaster and museum expert David van der Leer, Principal of DVDL, speaks with professionals from around the US and beyond.

On Tuesday, April 6th at 6:00 pm EDT, Van der Leer will be joined in conversation by Alex Sarian, President and CEO of Arts Commons. Arts Commons is a multi-venue arts center in downtown Calgary, Canada, located in the Olympic Plaza Cultural District. Occupying a full city block, Arts Commons is one of the three largest arts centers in Canada and is home to the Alberta Theatre Projects, Arts Commons Presents, Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, Downstage, One Yellow Rabbit, and Theatre Calgary. Arts Commons is an inspirational gathering space for all Calgarians and visitors alike. It offers a variety of performance and gathering spaces, as well as rehearsal halls, theatre workshops, offices, meeting rooms, a café, and visual and media arts galleries.

About the speakers:

Alex Sarian is the President & CEO of Arts Commons. The Arts Commons complex features rehearsal studios, production workshops, education spaces, art galleries, restaurants, public community areas, and six performance venues—including the Jack Singer Concert Hall, noted by The New York Times as one of the best acoustical venues in North America. Appointed in January 2020, Sarian became one of the youngest CEOs to oversee a major performing arts center in North America and its $450M expansion and modernization campaign. Sarian has served on numerous governing boards, special advisory committees, and funding panels. He is currently a trustee of off-Broadway theater company The New Group, an advisor to multimedia festival SXSW, and a philanthropic advisor to Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. He was also invited to serve on the selection committee for the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize.

David van der Leer is a consultant, curator, educator, moderator, researcher, strategist, and writer. He is the principal of DVDL, a consulting and forecasting agency,where he advises institutions, government agencies, corporations, and individuals in reinventing the institutions of yesterday and building the most inspirational institutions of tomorrow. Along with his consulting work, David van der Leer is a professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation where he teaches a course called (Re)Programming Museums.

Organized by
AIANY Cultural Facilities Committee and DVDL

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