Media Arts Center Brainstorming - concepts, issues, outcomes, beneifts

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Thu, 04/06/2006 - 03:25.

There are many examples of media arts centers to look to for best practices and business models. Some brought to surface in initial brainstorming include MACs in Pittsburgh, Austin, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle... all vibrant new economy cities whose successes we seek to duplicate, and better

The objective of NEO Central will be to better all other media arts centers in the world, by being best in what is most valuable, in entirely unique ways. Examples include development of a completely innovative media arts learning environment and core curriculum with classes and facilities designed for lifelong experiential, immersing media arts education for student involvement from early childhood to mastery. This "world's most powerful media arts learning environment" is being developed for and in collaboration with NEO public and private K-12 schools and colleges and universities, by the media arts educators in this community who already teach at those institutions - but they are developing the curriculum completely independently, to make it completely platform-independent, and it will be housed in downtown Cleveland, where it is most useful and can be shared most effectively, with the greatest regional economic development impact.

It is expected this Media Arts Center will thus serve students of the Cleveland and East Cleveland and other city public schools, and area charter, private and parochial schools, and Kent State University, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga Community College and the Cleveland Institute of Art, at least. The Center will also provide advanced education to the public/industry, including globally important seminars, speakers, workshops and such - it will be a global hub of media arts knowledge and learning, accessed at its very public facilities and through bleeding-edge information systems, for which it will be world-leading in development and application. Being a hub of media arts technology development and application will be a compeititve advantage at every level

As the central hub of media arts learning and knowledge sharing, the MAC will be a hub of related social and business activity - a vibrant community 24x7, 365 days a year - in person and via every appropriate technology.

The MAC will be a rich media creation, management, broadcast and commerce center, leveraging world-class technology and ultra-high bandwidth to make NEO a leader in the rich media content universe, in every media. Combining our technology strengths, demonstrated by our Intel Digital Cities designation and realized in the OneCleveland network and overall IT infrastructure of Cleveland, we are ideally positioned to lead in serving the technology needs of new media industry. A major value of the MAC will be to lead the world in deploying high value technologies for content creators, allowing them to be more successful.

Optimizing and commercializing the convergence of content and technology is critical to the future of all aspects of the media arts related industry, and the Media Arts Center. As we do this at the early maturation stage in a rapid paradigm shift - going from analog to digital, so to speak - there is considerable opportunity for new business development around this convergence, and the Media Arts Center will have a primary mission to develop effective media arts entrepreneurs, place them into valuable conditions to succeed, and incubate them to success in every way possible.

On an anual basis, The facility itself will be educator of current and future new economy workers, be home to media projects and companies, have a roll in the employment and prosperity of media industry workers, and those in support - and all of this will be new and in addition to whatever else is going on around here, in new economy and old. It is all additive, all new, and all good.

For many reasons, we have a building in which to develop this - the Gillota Building on the Central Viaduct - which so happens to give us much more than just a building... the media arts center is the anchor for developing a new economy neighborhood that will span from all around the Central Viaduct down into the Flats, across the peninsula and the Cuyahoga and back up all the way to the edge of Tremont - from the bordering I-90 bridge to the South to the Lorain Superior Bridge to the North... which adjoins certain long-term development property owned by Forest City, Sherwin William, N&W, and lots of construction and material companies... the region's most valuable property.

As added drama to this plot (anyone working yet on a movie about making the Media Arts Center?), the site of the Media Arts Center - the Gillota Building - is the historic 1994 Strong, Cobb Wholesale Drug Company Building, a massive, immaculate, intact and in-use Cleveland landmark prominently perched on the Eastern edge of the Flats, at the and of the 1884 Central Viaduct (second across the Cuyahoga). The second and sixth floors are not in use by the owners and so immediately available to the Media Arts Center.

Longer term, the Kent State Urban Design Collaborative and many area urban planners, historic preservation experts, architects, engineers and activists have taken on the cause of the media arts center and the Gillota and surrounding campus property, and some stunning potentials are obvious. The Gillota's own many acres of land surrounding the media arts center building, offering the potential to add 100,000s of square feet of mixed use facilities to the 100,000 or so square feet (wild estimate, for now) in the current historic building.

With innovative design and planning, like seen by the firms in the recent MoCA design competition and out of the Netherlands at the recent planning conference at CSU (where the European planners concluded, about NEO, it's all about the river), just the Gillots properties and environs offer reason and space for the Media Arts Center, related retail and service, and housing. If, as is expected, the ODOT realizes they are better to build the new I-90 bridge to the south of the current bridge, and remove the current bridge, then the entire Cuyahoga Valley will open up for higher use development from the new I-90 bridge (which will be a desirable wall blocking the new development zone from unavoidable industry to the south) all the way to Lake Erie.

At this stage, the objective is to act "locally" and small - get the MAC going in the Gillota property - begin planning on the surrounding Gillota properties - work with adjoining property owners on neightborhood development - all while thinking regionally.

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