A Home for Inspiring, Creating and Connecting: The New Madison Youth Arts Center

 In Case Study, Insights


The New Madison Youth Arts Center

Getting involved in the arts can help children thrive. The arts promote creativity, encourage neural connections, build self-esteem and help young people connect with each other and the world. Unfortunately, many youth arts organizations are hindered by overcrowding, costly, and inaccessible space, limiting their ability to offer more educational programs and reach more children.

In 2013, Madison’s Cultural Plan identified the pressing need for affordable creative space, and over the next five years, the need for this space grew exponentially. The four-story arts hub officially known as the Madison Youth Arts Center, Inc., was in the works for years, and was collectively envisioned by local youth arts organizations as a place for dedicated, permanent rehearsal and performance space for students in pre-K through high school.

The vision of the new space included a collaborative youth arts center that will provide opportunities for families from all backgrounds to find kindred spirits as their children cross paths in rehearsals, sparking friendships across geographic and socioeconomic lines; to expand opportunities for students and teachers to share in a collaborative environment of shared office spaces, rehearsal halls, common areas, professional services, and a 300-seat theater; and, to remove barriers for participation by building a centrally located facility in close proximity to public transportation.

A capital campaign was established with a set goal of $35 million and was raised entirely from private funds, notably $20 million from American Girl founder and longtime arts supporter Pleasant Rowland. The successful campaign raised $29 million to build and furnish the building, $5 million for an access fund to ensure groups of all sizes and stature can use it, and $1 million for a building maintenance endowment. The Madison Youth Arts Center (MYAC) will continue to raise money for the access fund.

“We want to do our best to ensure that this facility is inclusive and diverse,” said Allen Ebert, Executive Director, Madison Youth Arts Center. “It will be a fun, welcoming facility.”

As the vision became a reality, CG Schmidt was selected to provide construction management services for the new Madison Youth Arts Center. Located at 1055 E. Mifflin St. in Madison, CG Schmidt recently completed construction of the four-story, 65,000 SF space. The new center includes 15 rehearsal studios and classrooms from 600 SF to 2,000 SF, designed for music, theater, and dance, including a sensory-friendly studio; a 300-seat theater; a flexible performance studio seating up to 125; community space on each floor; visual art gallery space; costume and production shops; shared office space for anchor and community partners; and two large outdoor patios providing gathering, program, and event spaces.

MYAC is committed to reflecting the diversity of their community. Involvement, engagement, and participation of underrepresented youth in all aspects of arts education is essential. By providing affordable access and prioritizing their commitment to removing barriers, MYAC expects to double the number of young people currently participating in educational arts programs within five years. By 2025, MYAC will welcome more than 25,000 young people annually. CG Schmidt is honored to have been a part of this impactful project.

Planning your own project? Contact our construction professionals today.

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