Juneau has always been an artistic and culturally rich community, from the early days of the Auke Kwan and Taku Kwan Tlingit people to their descendants today, and for more recent residents since the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century.
Over 40 years ago the City & Borough of Juneau (CBJ) Comprehensive Plan recognized the need for a new Performing Arts Center (PAC). The Mayor’s Performing Arts Center (PAC) Commission was formed in 2004, and spent several years considering the need for a dedicated arts and culture facility. This process included community meetings and interviews with arts organizations likely to use the New JACC. The PAC Commission in 2008 recommended forming a group to conduct a capital campaign. The PAC Commission report envisioned the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council (JAHC) as the entity that would one day run a new PAC. In 2008, the CBJ Comprehensive Plan was updated to include the following: 15.1.IA2 Promote the development of a Juneau Performing Arts Center in Downtown Juneau to provide venues for live performances, visual arts, receptions, public meetings, and convention-related presentations.
In 2014, JAHC and Perseverance joined together to create a new non-profit corporation which commissioned a feasibility study for a New Juneau Arts & Culture Center (JACC). In 2015, JAHC joined with a robust group of supporters including arts organizations, educators, cultural organizations, patrons and arts appreciators to form the non-profit Partnership, Inc. to lead and manage fundraising and construction. Juneau’s widely-respected McDowell Group completed an economic feasibility study, updated in 2016, confirming that the New JACC is a viable and sustainable project for Juneau.
A number of enhancements to the current plans for the New JACC are being considered. Possible improvements include an enclosed corridor linking the New JACC to Centennial Hall to maximize joint use of the two facilities on a year-round basis. The Community Hall may be enlarged to allow for better marketing to groups interested in holding conventions and meeting in Juneau which require large amounts of flat floor space for booths. These enhancements would help integrate Centennial Hall and the New JACC into a seamless joint facility that provides the greatest efficiency and marketability.
JAHC is the official arts agency of Alaska’s Capital City and has a proven record of success. The existing JACC managed by JAHC is bursting at the seams with events, and other venues in Juneau are inadequate and difficult to book. The Old JACC is a deteriorating building with sub-standard features; it would be prohibitively costly to repair and simply cannot serve the current and future needs of the community.
Many different new parking options for the Willoughby District are being worked on co-operatively with the major landowners in neighborhood: CBJ, the State of Alaska, and the Mental Health Trust Authority. An area-wide parking solution, including new spaces, shared use in the short term, and a new parking structure in the longer term. New parking spaces may become available nearby and enhancements to parking facilities like the SOB and APK are being discussed. Simply relining the parking spaces in the existing lots will recover the majority of spaces lost to construction.
The New JACC will be an economically stimulating activity in the arts, business, and the community. The New JACC is a “shovel-ready” project which will provide much-needed local construction jobs. Once built and running, the New JACC will be a platform for increased convention, conference and tourism-related activities. Residents and visitors will have a dedicated, purpose-built place to meet, view art, enjoy performances, shop, and hold events of all kinds. The New JACC will complement the adjacent Centennial Hall by offering greater capacity for large conventions, meetings, performances, and other events, many of which are currently infeasible due to space constraints. Juneau is acknowledged nationally for its artistic and cultural vibrancy, and was ranked sixth in the nation on the Creative Vitality Index (CVI) at the end of 2017.
The land on which the Old JACC sits is owned by CBJ, and the New JACC will be built on this same site. The New JACC will be owned by CBJ, and will operated by the non-profit JAHC, under the direction of the JAHC Board of Trustees and managed by JAHC staff.
The design process for the New JACC is nearing the final stages of completion. Continued progress with the New JACC capital campaign will see demolition of the Old JACC starting in March 2019. Construction should take from 18 months to 2 years. The New JACC will be open for business toward the end of 2020.
The total project cost for the New JACC is currently estimated at $26 million. Construction costs are expected to be $19 million and 80% of construction jobs are expected to be filled locally.
Operating income will be generated through ticket sales, payments for productions, lease of office space, rental for conventions, meetings, community events, and performances and Art Gallery, Art Shop, and Café revenues. Also, the Juneau Community Foundation is currently administering a $1 million endowment dedicated to the operation and maintenance of the New JACC.
During construction, the New JACC will provide 45-50 construction jobs. The majority of the estimated $19 million construction budget will flow directly into the local economy. Local hire and the use of local sub-contractors will be the priority for the life of the construction project. More service-sector jobs will be created and supported by the increased range and level of activities at the New JACC. Arts centers across the nation are proven generators of economic activity, and help revitalize neighborhoods and attract new businesses. The New JACC will provide these same benefits to Alaska’s Capital City.
Juneau will enjoy a fully supported, purpose-built professional venue for community gatherings, conferences, theater, music, dance, youth programming and visual arts. All of these activities will increase hotel stays, restaurant business, and other expenditures boosting Juneau’s economy. The positive economic effects flowing from the New JACC will help Juneau attract and retain families, entice more visitors throughout the year, and increase spending by those who come to Juneau. The New JACC will help fulfill CBJ’s long-term goals for revitalizing the Willoughby District and attracting additional investment to the area.
Before the formal design phase, many community members actively participated in guided meetings to provide the best possible picture of the needs, dreams and wishes they hold for the New JACC. The March 2016 architect-selection process was community-based, involving public meetings at each phase. Fifty people, selected to represent a wide spectrum of the community, participated in the final architect selection. Later phases of the design process included five well-attended community sessions and many focus groups for stakeholders in performance, acoustics, sound, and visual arts. Comments and suggestions from all persons interested in the New JACC are still being sought and welcomed by the Partnership and JAHC.
Staffing a larger facility will add two additional full-time and two additional part-time positions to the JAHC staff. The Café will separately create additional new work opportunities. Tickets sales, rental income, Art Gallery and Gift Shop sales and production spending will be substantial. With increased capacity and programming, the New JACC will sponsor more events, generate increased activity, and continue to expand use of Centennial Hall for conferences and other events. The existing JACC was in use 352 out of 366 days in 2016, and the New JACC is expected to surpass this level of use.
CBJ owns the land on which the New JACC will be built. In 2012, CBJ allocated $1 million in sales tax revenue to JAHC to provide key early-phase funding for the New JACC project. CBJ and JAHC are making steady progress on a plan to transfer management of Centennial Hall to JAHC resulting in additional CBJ funds supporting JAHC staff and operations. CBJ’s investments in the New JACC to date include helping the capital campaign leverage an array of private, non-profit and foundation funding sources. The New JACC will be funded primarily with money raised from a variety of non-public sources with appropriate investment of public funds.
The plans for demolishing the Old JACC are being closely monitored and will be altered if it is necessary to do for the overall success of the project. Those seeking to book the Old JACC for events in the spring of 2019 and thereafter should contact JAHC with requests, which will be incorporated into the Centennial Hall and JACC master calendars. All bookings will be accommodated and JAHC staff will take all necessary steps to find suitable space for all users of the JACC and Centennial Hall.
- Over 1600 individuals, couples, and families who have signed the Statement of Support.
- Many donors to the New JACC Builders’ Campaign.
- City & Borough of Juneau
- Juneau Community Foundation
- Sealaska Heritage Institute
- Central Council of Tlingit-Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
- Juneau Economic Development Council
- Downtown Business Association
- Juneau Jazz & Classics
- Central Council Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska
- Juneau Economic Development Council
- Alaska Youth Choir
- Juneau Alaska Music Matters
- Sons of Norway
- Juneau Symphony Orchestra
- Girl Scouts
- Other Juneau arts organizations and community user groups
- Other Juneau businesses and service providers, community leaders, trade unions, and educato