Tag Archives: Cultural Arts

Culture & The Arts: Arts Mean Business

by Jody Leshinsky, Cultural Executive Director (Historic Ali Cultural Center & Bailey Contemporary Arts, Pompano Beach CRA)

Broward County was one of 341 study regions that participated in a national research study on the economic impact of the arts and cultural industry. The Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study was released in 2017 by the Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization for advancing the arts in America. The study provided compelling evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $414.2 million industry in Broward County that supports 11,078 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $40.1 million in revenue for local and state government.

In Pompano Beach, a city in Broward County, the two cultural arts venues – Bailey Contemporary Arts and the Historic Ali Cultural Arts – generate nearly a $344,000 economic impact and $34,000 in local and state government revenue.

According to the Community Partnerships for Cultural Partnership, people participate in arts and culture in four primary ways:

  • They attend programs and events;
  • encourage their children to participate;
  • make or perform art as amateurs;
  • or support the arts through donations of time and money.

The more ways people participate—and the more often—the more likely they are to engage in other activities that support community life.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage month, which begins on September 15, we took a look at some of the local and national statistics that connect to the cultural arts. The 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Survey of Public Participation in the Arts revealed that people of Hispanic origin are more likely to have utilized technology in the creation of art, and of the 35 million U.S. Hispanics, 9.4 percent have a attended at least one arts-related event in a year. According to the most recent U.S. census report, 25 percent of the total Florida population is Hispanic and 19 percent of Pompano Beach residents are Hispanic.

By tapping into Hispanic populations, cities can utilize the cultural arts as a platform to engage and include Hispanics in improving or enhancing their communities via cultural, visual, performing and even culinary art offerings. This approach adds diversity and interest for locals and visitors and may also open the door for Hispanics to consider opening businesses that contribute to the economic vitality of the area.

Americans for the Arts, 

Broward cultural Division; 

US census

Pompano Beach Brand Strategy | Old Town


Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Business Attraction & Marketing


100 W. Atlantic Boulevard
Pompano Beach, FL 33062

Performance Period

2009 – Present

Pompano Beach Brand Strategy | Old Town


Pompano Beach lacked a true ‘downtown’ – a central business/commercial area. Pompano Beach’s economic future depended on developing a downtown area to attract private investment; in particular, the redevelopment of the blighted and derelict historic downtown center. When RMA began managing the CRA districts in Pompano Beach, it quickly became clear that the city had an absence of cultural facilities or targeted cultural art uses. Arts and cultural activities had been statistically identified as consistent sources of economic growth. No new development had taken place in decades and two key historic buildings were rapidly falling into decay, likely headed for demolition; the Bailey Hotel, built in 1923, in the Old Pompano commercial district and the Ali Building, built in the 1930’s, on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The vision of a Creative Arts and Downtown Innovation District was in the CRA Master Plan; however, no progress had been made toward that vision as the city lacked a cultural brand/identity and the two historic properties were privately owned. The process of acquiring and renovating the historic buildings into two cultural, public real estate assets would become the catalyst for the redevelopment of the entire downtown area and the creation of the cultural brand.


RMA’s strategy was to use cultural assets to improve the community’s competitive edge, create the foundation for defining a sense of place, attract new and visiting populations, and contribute to the development of a skilled workforce. Simultaneously, at RMA’s recommendation, the City planned to create a cultural civic campus across the street from the historic district, creating a cluster of cultural activity.

While construction was underway on the streetscape and other infrastructure improvements in the historic area, RMA managed the acquisition process for both historic buildings. The next step was to seek approval from the CRA Board for complete renovation of the buildings while maintaining the historic architectural elements that made them unique. The concept for the Bailey Hotel (Bailey Contemporary Arts – BaCA) was to convert the hotel rooms on the upper floor to artist studios, and use the ground floor for gallery space and a coffee house. Artists were invited to submit applications with a combination of art mediums being sought including visual art, clay, pottery, music and other forms. The Ali building was renovated as a cultural arts performance venue reflecting the African American heritage of the area.

Once the cultural assets were established, RMA began the process of branding the historic downtown area as “Old Town” and utilized the brand as a cohesive approach to redevelopment. The cultural arts branding concept used a mosaic bench in Amsterdam as inspiration. Pulling together the assets and missions of the pioneer arts centers, Ali and BaCA, overlapping values were identified. The cultural centers would essentially bring together many different ideas into one cohesive message for the area: Diversity, Art, History and Community. RMA visually defined this as “a combination of diverse elements forming a coherent whole” – the definition of a mosaic.

With this concept in mind, and an actual photo of a mosaic bench taken in Amsterdam during the research process, the mosaic tiles were turned into a versatile design element to be used across all branded collateral. Color palettes were defined to delineate each area, and to apply to corresponding events, tying everything that is unique about each of the area’s assets into one cohesive brand strategy. The new brand and messaging strategy was then used to promote classes, activities, events and exhibits via a myriad of communication outlets.

A signature monthly event that was established as a business attraction tool is the Old Town Untapped Craft Beer & Arts festival. The event was strategically designed to familiarize attendees with the reinvented Downtown and to using the area in a new way. The event includes a biergarten, food trucks, live music, vendors, and artists at work/ open access to the BaCA art gallery. In just one-year, Old Town Untapped has grown from 250 to over 5000 attendees! The vendors have grown from 15 to 50, food trucks from 4 to 12+, and art gallery visitors from 50-100 to over 500. Since the event is also an activator for the area, a targeted campaign ‘Untap Your Potential’ was created and launched, including installation of signage in all the vacant commercial spaces. This has resulted in a dramatic increase in interest in the spaces and new businesses are already open (Blooming Bean Coffee Co. and Odd Breed Brewery) or permitted to open soon (a restaurant).

The brand standard represented the current cultural arts buildings and the recurring events and programs held in the area also brought a great deal of press and newsworthy attention to the City of Pompano Beach.


  • The renovation of historical buildings into cultural arts venues were the catalyst for changing perceptions about the blighted downtown area
  • There is now a cohesive and solid cultural arts brand in Pompano Beach and all marketing efforts are consistent, yet still unique and distinguishable by color/design/location/target audience, etc.
  • It is estimated that over 65,000 people have visited Pompano’s Old Town district and BaCA and Ali cultural facilities in the past one year and the numbers are continually increasing
  • Approximately 250 classes, programs and events are hosted annually in Old Town, BaCA and Ali
  • All the studio space in BaCA is leased to working artists and these artists participate in sharing the brand message and furthering the City and CRA goals
  • New businesses have located in the branded downtown area and several more have leased spaces and are under renovation, scheduled to open during 2018 and 2019
  • Developers have invested in the area and new multi-family residential buildings are under construction
  • The cultural arts brand in Pompano Beach is now strong enough to support the creation of a new city Cultural Arts department, including establishing a Pompano Beach Cultural Arts Director position

Emerging Neighborhoods: Is Pompano Beach home to Broward’s next hipster haven?

Contact information regarding City Vista, Royal American Management 954-942-7142 or Pompano Beach City Hall 954.786.4600

By Emon Reiser, News Source @SouthFloridaBusinessJournal

Editor’s Note: This is one in a series of articles running in November on South Florida neighborhoods outside of the region’s well-known hot spots. They are places that have recently seen an uptick in residents as well as retail and residential developers. These are South Florida’s emerging neighborhoods.

Pompano Beach is on the brink of a transformation decades in the making.

It’s a new day for the sleepy beach town as an Innovation District springs up beside its retirement communities, bringing trendy startups, hip restaurants and breweries along with it.

“The Pompano Beach Innovation District is one of the most exciting development opportunities in South Florida,” said Emily Marcus, a project manager with the Pompano Beach CRA. “The Innovation District already has anchors and assets including three major cultural facilities, a culinary and tech industry presence, proximity to the Pompano Beach Airport, and contiguous access to over 30 million square feet of industrial space.”

The neighborhood has been overlooked for years by developers. Now, it has community redevelopment agency-initiated plans sprouting on two sides of the city that would bring new residents, businesses and tourists to the area. Developers are taking notice, following up with their own project proposals in the city.

“We did our first vision study with [Florida Atlantic University] in ’98 or ’99 about that east side of I-95 that has now gone through all of the zoning changes for the Innovation District,” said David Hasenauer of The Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). “We’re finally at that point.”

The city’s Innovation District is within a 38-acre area that includes 15 acres owned by the CRA. Its zoning would allow 750,000 square feet of office space, 165,000 square feet of retail, 35,000 square feet of restaurants, 1,500 residential units, and two hotels with a combined 420 rooms.

Although plans for the District were 20 years in the making, construction officially kicked off last year with the groundbreaking of the City Vista project. It includes 111 apartments and 3,800 square foot of ground-floor commercial space at the northeast corner of Martin Luther King Boulevardand Northwest 6th Avenue, within walking distance of the Ali Cultural Arts Center, Bailey Contemporary Arts and the the Pompano Beach Cultural Center and Library.

The CRA recently called for artists across the country to apply for residency.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for artists to live in an urban, dynamic new downtown community,” said Jody Leshinsky, cultural executive director of the CRA. “The Artist in Residence program will facilitate the success of City Vista, while also promoting Pompano Beach’s cultural arts scene, attracting and retaining talented individuals in the developing downtown, and providing a steady stream of volunteers to participate in the city’s growing cultural arts brand.”

Many of those artists could make their mark on the murals popping up around town, or the art trail that will run along Martin Luther King Boulevard.

As the CRA bolsters the city’s cultural offerings, it aims to increase its resources for local entrepreneurs.

Part of the commercial square footage at City Vista will be used as co-working space. At the E. Pat Larkins Center, the CRA designated a commercial kitchen to serve as a culinary incubator. It also set up the Pompano Beach Green Market on Saturdays in partnership with the Pompano Beach Historical Society. That’s in addition to Old Town Untapped, a craft brew and arts festival that is bringing thousands of vendors and attendees to Bailey Hall at Broward College. Odd Breed Wild Ales is a new brewery slated to open before year end nearby the monthly gathering.

“We’re really pushing for that environment to foster the entrepreneurial spirit,” Hasenauer said.

Closer to the beach, the Pompano Beach Pier Development encompasses six acres within the CRA’s East District and is a major part of Pompano Beach’s transformation as a potential hot spot for millennials. The groundbreaking ceremony for the first parcel was Jan. 27 this year and construction for the development will continue through 2020.

When complete, the Pompano Beach Fishing Village (the name of the $15 million development at the pier) would have two restaurants, shops and a Hilton hotel among its tenants. Its 615-car garage has already been completed.

The CRA will next seek out a Master Developer for the entire district.

Outside of the CRA’s plans, the city has seen a wave of proposed projects. Here is a sampling:

  • A 360,989-square-foot mixed-use project has been proposed along the ocean in Pompano Beach by heavyweight New York developer Chetrit Group and Hollywood partner Ari Pearl. It would have a 24-story tower with 77 condos and a 22-story hotel tower with 303 rooms.
  • The Broadstone Oceanside apartment complex by CRP/AR Oceanside Owner, a joint venture between Alliance Residential and Dev Motwani’s Merrimac, broke ground along the Intracoastal Waterway in Pompano Beach in August. The 3.7-acre site at 1333 S. Ocean Blvd. will have an 8-story building with 211 apartments, 2,776 square feet of retail/leasing office and 432 parking spaces.
  • Avery Place by Meyers Group broke ground at the southeast corner of Northeast 4th Street and Northeast 20th Avenue. The parcel has been approved for an 8-story, 147-unit apartment complex.