Performing arts center/centre (see spelling differences), often abbreviated as PAC, is used to refer to:
- A multi-use performance space that is intended for use by various types of the performing arts, including dance, music and theatre.
- The intended multiple use of performing arts centers in this sense differentiates them from single-purpose concert halls, opera houses or theatres, although the actual use of single-purpose spaces for other than their intended use is widespread. This sort of space has a long history extending to the Roman Colosseum and Greek amphitheatres.
- A cluster of performance spaces, either separate buildings or under one roof, each space designed for a specific purpose such as symphonic music or chamber music or theatre, but multi-purpose as a whole. The modern version of this came into being only in the 1960s.
- Examples of this type of PAC are the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Sydney Opera House, and the Lincoln Center in New York City.
Some performing arts center organizations act as sole presenter for events using the venues within the center, but most also frequently rent their performance spaces to other performing arts presenters or self-presenting performing arts groups. Examples of this practice is the Celebrity Series of Boston renting venues in Boston's Boch Center.
New performing arts centers emerged in the latter part of the 20th century as a means of generating new investment and increased economic activity and thus, a means for revitalizing neighborhoods as patrons are drawn to local restaurants and other businesses. PACs became a draw for touring shows and eventually included visual art in their facilities. Today, these centers are valuable civic resources that provide education, access, exchange of creative discourse, opportunities for cultural expression and awareness.
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