San Antonio is in the midst of a cultural building boom. The Museo Alameda opened in 2007, and the McNay christened its new Stieren wing the following year. This spring’s opening of the Witte’s South Texas Heritage Center will be followed by the Briscoe Western Art Museum next year, the Tobin Center in 2014, and the new San Antonio Children’s Museum in 2015. Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, too, is launching a capital campaign to raise $15 million to build a larger home near its current location.
Already, some of these projects have been more successful than others. The Museo Alameda has been consistently plagued by funding and management problems, while the Stieren Center is credited with increasing the McNay’s attendance, membership, and even donations to its collection. It’s too early to tell how successful the other projects will be, but a recent study from the Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago offers some research-based insight into the factors that result in successful cultural-facility building projects.
Set in Stone: Building America’s New Generation of Arts Facilities, 1994 − 2008 looks at the construction and renovation of museums, theaters, and performing arts centers throughout the United States over a 15 year period.