Helping a national arts institution adapt to its new home

National Arts Centre
Positioning, Programming

Challenge
The National Arts Centre (NAC) opened in Ottawa in 1969 and is one of the largest performing arts facilities in Canada. In 2014, Diamond Schmitt Architects began to renovate and expand the centre. The NAC engaged Frontier to help create a vision for how the institution could get the most out of its new space.

Approach
A series of one-on-one interviews with key institutional stakeholders revealed the complexity of adapting to a new space that is as much a venue for private use as it is a public institution. Their main challenge was understanding how the parts fit together and how competing requirements could work in harmony with the overall mandate of the NAC.

Outcome
In close collaboration with NAC teams, we created a broad-ranging vision that outlined the agenda for visitors’ experiences. By creating use-case profiles and articulating them clearly, we galvanized the NAC team around its organizational objectives.

We held workshops with key teams that had been given varied assignments so that they could understand the whole endeavour and its unified objectives. This experience sparked new forms of collaboration.

Building on the NAC slogan, “Canada Is Our Stage,” Frontier established an inclusive and purpose-based internal rallying cry for the team.

The project is ongoing by its very nature, as teams continually rally around the visitor-first mission of the NAC as an arts institution. We are proud to have helped the NAC successfully realize the full potential of its new building.