Boise Performing Arts Center Feasibility Study


The Department of Arts & History of the City of Boise, Idaho, hired AMS to conduct a feasibility study for a performing arts facility to be built downtown in conjunction with the construction of a new Main Library for the City. The client envisioned a flexible, community-based performing arts facility to be used by local arts groups that would fill their need for a performance venue not being met by existing facilities.

AMS examined the feasibility for the performing arts facility and made recommendations on the type, size and configuration that would best suit the needs of the community. AMS conducted a survey of local performing arts groups to determine the most appropriate size and type of stage, technical needs and capabilities of users, and their ability to pay fees for using the facility. Our process also included an inventory of existing performing arts spaces, citing uses and barriers to usage, an assessment of potential competitors within the region, and a market analysis of the potential audience.

To determine the best operational structure, AMS conducted research on comparable communities with successful city-built performing arts centers. The identified exemplary venues provided useful examples of appropriate facilities and operating structures for the Boise space, including the role the city might play in its operation.

Based on the results of the needs assessment, market analysis, and potential use by artists and arts organizations, AMS recommended that the City invest in a 300-seat, flexible black box space, with the capacity to reconfigure the stage and seating to meet the needs of a broad variety of art forms and groups.

The black box theater was determined to be the best option for the city based on the following factors:

  • It would be financially accessible for artists and audiences;
  • Its versatility could accommodate a variety of types of performances and artistic disciplines;
  • The space would be appropriately sized for emerging artists with limited technical skills;
  • It takes advantage of the library site and associated City support and momentum; and,
  • It can deliver a quality theatrical and artistic experience for the audience.

AMS was requested to assist the city in shepherding the subsequent phase of the project, the design process, in 2018. AMS has also assisted in ensuring the facility’s design meets the needs and goals of the City, which fully embraced the recommendations from the feasibility study.

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