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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Fog/Mist
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City of Madison launches survey about local performance venues

The Madison Arts Commission hopes a new Performing Arts Facilities Study will help it better understand the needs of local performance venues. As part of the data-gathering process, it's inviting the public to participate in an online survey about their performing arts interests at

Madison Arts Program administrator Karin Wolf says the study came about as the city developed its Cultural Plan, due to be unveiled later this year.

Wolf says Mayor Paul Soglin and the city council want more specifics about the state of local performing arts venues. They realized they needed information when discussing arts funding in relation to the Cultural Plan.

"We have to know the whole picture of what's going on in Madison so we know how to best support a healthy performing arts scene," she explains.

Meanwhile, the commission is eager to learn more about local venues' audience capacity. Wolf says it's not clear if Madison has too many performance venues.

She adds that the study will also examine "how Madison is growing in general" and how its performing arts audiences are evolving.

The city has turned to consultants Duncan Webb and Alan Brown for assistance with the survey. Webb did a similar assessment for Portland, Ore., in 2010.

Wolf says once the survey responses and many other pieces of data are collected, a draft report will be issued. She expects this to happen in late August, with a final report to follow in September.

The commission hopes to get a diverse set of responses from the community. In addition to gathering data from local individuals, it has asked arts and neighborhood organizations to take the survey.

"It'll be a much more accurate study if we have people who never even go to a performance [respond]," Wolf says.

The survey is open until July 8.

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