Broad Avenue Water Tower Pavilion

Binghampton Development Corporation/Historic Broad Avenue Art Alliance

Funding Received: 2013
Memphis, TN
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
October 27, 2014

By Sara Studdard

Dance on Broad was a HUGE success!

Dance on Broad Recap:
- Eight-week series included performances by nationally acclaimed companies including Camille A. Brown and Dancers (held May 10) and a concert featuring the best of Memphis dance companies (held June 28)
- Other Saturdays, Dance on Broad featured six community dance parties that included beginner dance lessons and dancing under the stars with a live band or DJ
- Featured salsa, swing, Afrohouse, Bollywood, line dancing and Zumba
- Attracted more than 3300 Memphians, representing approximately 90 percent of zip codes in Shelby County
- Attendance – Camille A Brown (600), Salsa (150), Swing (200), Line (600), Afrohouse (200), Zumba (500), Bollywood (400), Best of Memphis (700)
- Cultural mash-up - people of all shapes, colors, and backgrounds joined together to celebrate Memphis and dance
- Great press and community feedback

Dance on Broad Community Feedback:
“Great attendance, fun community feel, enjoyed the diversity, brought lots of people together from around the city”  (Line Dance Attendee, 38122 neighborhood)

“Seeing Memphians from various socioeconomic statuses and nationalities laughing, smiling, learning, and dancing with each other.” (Salsa, Swing, Line, Afro, Bollywood Dance Attendee, 38111 neighborhood)

“The community vibe of happiness and harmony is so great.” (Afrohouse attendee, 38108 neighborhood)

Dance on Broad ended on June 26th and we hit the ground running with free programming most Saturday nights.

Maintaining the cultural mash-up and diversity created at Dance on Broad is a priority but also a challenge. Our summer and fall season is full of community and performing arts groups but doesn’t include active arts programming. We have begun to notice that our events are becoming less diverse and attendees are moving back into their silos.

We are looking into how we can bring more active arts programming to the Pavilion but also how can we encourage more interaction at a regular free arts event.

Recent Wins
Dance on Broad brought valuable exposure and press to Broad Avenue and the Water Tower Pavilion. We have a saying on Broad that “if we get you to visit Broad once it won’t be your last”. It is proving to be truer and truer as the year goes on. Not only do we have good attendance at our weekly events, foot traffic on Broad during the week continues to increase.

Our business owners continue to be supportive and vital to the WTP’s success. Recently they organized a widely successful street-wide sidewalk sale on a weekend the Pavilion was dark.

We have had good interest in the Pavilion for rental and have even booked a few events for this fall.  This revenue is very important as we begin to work towards 2015 planning and sustainability.

Also a local arts community fund and organization, ArtsMemphis, hosted an event that brought over 800 people to the Pavilion in just a few hours. The party celebrated a grants program and transformed the loading dock in an “art truck stop”. Four trailers were transformed into experiences for partygoers to enter and experience. This event had board members, funders, artists and community members in attendance and introduced Broad to new group of people that may not have been aware of its revitalization.

The Water Tower Pavilion provides a community space for art to incubate but not to define it. In July & August alone we hosted a storyteller, spoken word artists, hip hop performances, improv, rock n roll band, comedy show and a tribal dance party. This diversity not only reflects our partners but also our audiences. We have given the public the power to shape and program the Pavilion. This power is vital to the success but also creates conflict when discussions of what is art and what isn’t begin. We try to guide these conversations back to the mission of the Pavilion and Broad, which is to be inclusive and supportive of all art.