The Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (CAC) announces a renovation project and new tenant, The Domain Companies, in the Besthoff Building at 900 Camp Street. The project will take place between October 2016 and August 2017. It will allow for significant improvements to existing spaces and for the addition of new spaces for the presentation of both Visual Arts and Performing Arts programming at the CAC. The project will include: Renovation of joined historic warehouses into finished space for performances, exhibitions, and events; Expansion of the first floor gallery space to double the size of the existing footprint; and Renovation of the entire third and fourth floors for occupancy by a new tenant, The Domain Companies’ co-working development, The Shop.
“Since its inception by a passionate group of New Orleans visual and performing artists in 1976, the CAC has remained a place for the creative community to coalesce around the central role of the arts in the development of economically vibrant urban centers. Through this groundbreaking partnership with The Domain Companies, the CAC realizes this fundamental vision on the occasion of our 40th Anniversary serving the New Orleans community,” says Neil A. Barclay, CAC Director and CEO. “We are thrilled to join The Domain Companies in this endeavor that, we trust, will become a model for the creative reuse of facilities like ours in communities throughout the country.”
The Shop is set to open in early Summer 2017 on the CAC’s third and fourth floors. The Shop will target technology, arts, and cultural-based businesses, and serve as a hub of entrepreneurship in the developing downtown innovation corridor. The Shop’s amenities are designed to offer small businesses, entrepreneurs, and arts-based professionals the resources they need to grow. Beginning in August 2017, The Idea Village (ideavillage.org) will move its operations to The Shop.
“Co-working spaces strengthen the economy and promote job and business growth. We’re thrilled to introduce a co-working space for creative professionals to Downtown New Orleans, and there is no better place to do it than the CAC,” said Matt Schwartz, Principal of The Domain Companies. “We envision The Shop as a vibrant community of individuals and small businesses connecting with one another and New Orleans.”
This new development will honor the historic roots of the building, which was donated to the Contemporary Arts Center by CAC Trustee Emeritus Sydney J. Besthoff in 1997.
“Walda and I could not be more pleased with this announcement,” said Besthoff. “As former owners of the building that was once a K&B warehouse and has now housed the CAC for four decades, and as longtime supporters of the Contemporary Arts Center, we are thrilled to see Domain establish a co-working space in the building. This is an ideal use of the third and fourth floors, and we believe this relationship will not only be great for both the CAC and Domain, but for the entire city.”
Says Barclay, “Over the years, the CAC has leased space to unique and complementary partner tenants—including the New Orleans Film Society, the National Performance Network, and Junebug Productions. The mission of The Shop is to bring members of the creative class in to our building as their tenants. We are excited at the opportunity to welcome these new tenants, as well as their staff, clients, and guests, to visit our cafe, galleries, and performances, and to experience our critically-acclaimed, year-round artistic programming.”
On Thursday, October 6 at 5:30pm, the CAC will host a Renovation Presentation to share more details on the project, and to present preliminary architectural renderings of the spaces to be renovated.