Title means "Quietness", "Comfortable Sound" and "Excellent Acoustics"

Nagata Acoustics News 01-8 (No.164)
Issued : August 25, 2001

Education in Arts Administration in USA

by Miho Oshima

So many concert halls were built in Japan for the last 20 years, especially during the 'Bubble' period. But it is evident that concert halls cannot achieve their full potential without meaningful contents and effective programming. As a result, more attention has been drawn to the area of arts administration programs to develop more arts managers. Since the area of arts administration has been established more in the U.S., I asked Miho Oshima to introduce and give an overview of the arts administration program she attended. Ms. Oshima is the Manager of Fundraising Activities for the Walt Disney Concert Hall at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. (Y.Toyota)

Recently, it seems like the public is starting to realize the necessity of effective management in the arts community in Japan. The purpose of this report is to introduce the Arts Administration Program that I attended and graduated from at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

<< Background >>

Ms.Miho Oshima
After graduating from Northwestern University in Chicago with degrees in economics and music business, I decided to intern at the San Antonio Symphony to see how the orchestra was run. The internship turned into a job and I stayed there for the next three years as an artistic coordinator. During these three years I learned and experienced the day-to-day operation of the orchestra management. My responsibilities there included season planning, artist contract negotiations, and production management.

The San Antonio Symphony has an annual budget of $6.5 million and employs 78 full-time musicians (39 weeks) and 25 staff members. Although San Antonio is the tenth largest city in the U.S. population-wise, the orchestra never had enough financial support. While I was there, the orchestra was battling with never-ending cashflow problems. It was difficult for the organization to grow when operating in the constant crisis mode. After three years of being there, I felt so much frustration because it seemed like there was no long-term solution for the stability of the orchestra. In a way, I was hoping to find my answer that I had not been able to find by going back to graduate school and study both business and arts administration.

<< Arts Administration >>
The Meadows School of the Arts/The Edwin L. Cox School of Business (Southern Methodist University, Dallas)

* The Dual Degree Concept
The Center for Arts Administration requires students to enroll for two degrees concurrently - the only program of this kind in the U.S. Students receive an MBA from the Edwin L. Cox School of Business and an MA in Arts Administration from the Meadows School of the Arts. This unique concept is basic to the program's premise that a successful career in arts management is based on a thorough knowledge of contemporary business practices coupled with an understanding of and appreciation for the arts, artists and the institutional non-profit world.

Studies leading to the MBA should be carried out, not in an isolated environment of non-for-profit theory, but in the traditional business environment. Arts managers will regularly deal with corporate executives and others who are educated in for-profit management. An understanding of entrepreneurship and quality management practices becomes essential to the arts manager.

* The Importance of Practical Experience
Underlying the program of academic study is an appreciation for the "practical" nature of arts administration. While the end result of management in the arts is clearly the preservation and presentation of quality arts experiences, the actual accomplishment of this is a feat of practical management. Students are required to work in selected arts organizations during their entire time at SMU. A practicum in one or more Dallas-area art organizations and a summer internship there or elsewhere in the U.S. is requirement for graduation.

* Limited Class Size
Given the nature of the program at the Center for Arts Administration and the basic philosophy of the dual degree, knowledge of the arts and practical management experience, it is essential that enrollment be limited to a small number of students. Each entering class is limited to approximately ten. Only in this way can the Center's staff provide personalized academic and professional guidance.

My business school class had 150 students, of which 8 of us were the arts administration students. 2 students had visual arts background, 2 were from theatre, 1 from ballet, 1 from film, and 3 from music. Our age varied from 24 to 37. 2 international students had just come from Jordan and Croatia. This diversity of the class made our interaction and learning experience very meaningful.

After going through the program, I would say that the Center's philosophy on the above five areas was well-reflected on the curriculum and administration of the program.

<< The Curriculum >>

The first year is mainly to complete the required courses in both business and arts administration. A student would take financial/managerial accounting, economics, organizational behavior, finance, marketing, operations management, and arts administration seminars during the first year. The second year is for concentrating on your own interest by taking electives with some required courses such as strategic analysis and information technology management. I tried to take classes from all different areas for my business electives so that I would get a broad overview of the for-profit world. I found the information that I learned in human resources, strategic analysis and marketing classes to be especially useful for arts administration.

On the arts administration side, there is a seminar to take every semester that focuses on one of the four areas: general management, marketing, fund-raising, and finance. The Center for Arts Administration invites well-established professionals from Dallas-area arts organizations as guest speakers for classes so that students would have an opportunity to hear about the real-world experiences in different areas. During the second year, the main challenge is for every student to create a three-year long-range planning for an arts organization. From a rough description/scenario of an organization, we would examine the mission of the organization, the present status, and the future direction in different areas, and then build a cash-flow chart for the first year and budget projections for the next three years reflecting the vision and the plan of actions. This process teaches the importance of everyone involved in the organization to step back to look at the overall picture and agree on the desired future direction before launching number crunching. It is very common that individual departments plan separately, when in fact the whole organization should start from the same point, being aware of how things are going to affect among different departments. I believe that this is where the for-profit principles of logical business planning can serve as a model to the non-profit world.

Another valuable aspect of the curriculum has to do with practicality. Students are required to spend 8-10 hours per week for practicum every semester at a local arts organization. The Center encourages students to use these opportunities to explore different areas. Because the time is limited, the practicum is useful mostly for observing actual operations. For more intensive practical training, the full-time internship for three months is required after completing two years of course work. The hosting organization is expected to assign meaningful projects to an intern. The Center's Program Director calls all hosting organizations to explain the purpose and expectation of the internship program so that there will not be any misunderstanding after a student gets there. During the three months, students are treated as an integral part of the organization. At the end of the internship, a 25-30 page analysis report on the organization and project has to be turned in. A hosting organization is asked to send in an evaluation letter on the intern's performance and contribution. I did my internship at the Hollywood Bowl (18,000-seat outdoor venue), the summer festival presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. I worked in the operations for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. It turned out to be a great experience to be involved in such a huge-scale production.

The graduates of the Center for the Administration are now working for prestigious cultural institutions, government's cultural agencies, and foundations all over the country. The Center keeps track of its graduates so that there is a tight network of arts administrators.

<< Conclusion >>

In this digital age, managing the arts is becoming more and more challenging. Therefore, arts administrators have to have an acute sense for creating a clear vision for an organization and managing the process of implementing the vision. Although the graduate education in art administration does not solve all the problems for the arts world, a well-thought-through program/curriculum will be able to develop professional arts administrators that will contribute to pushing the arts organizations into the 21st century. Creating a meaningful program will take a lot of time and effort on the part of educators, arts professionals, and other supporters. Hopefully, building such programs will be viewed as necessity in order to preserve precious artistic traditions.

Mitoya-cho Cultural and Sports Pavilion

by Makoto Ino

<< A Town with Origins Dating to the Dawn of Japanese History >>

Mitoya-cho Cultural and Sports Pavilion
Mitoya-cho is a small Japanese town with a long history. The town is located about 15 km (9 miles) south of Izumo City, in the Izumo region of Shimane Prefecture, which stretches along Japan's northwestern coastline and is known for its scenic beauty. Thanks to modern roads and transportation, the drive from Mitoya-cho to Izumo City now takes about 30-minutes, but in those 30 minutes, commuters and visitors traverse territory that as early as the second century C.E. was home to a vibrant civilization. The history of Izumo dates back far enough to meld with ancient Japanese legends. In the eighth century, the Japanese imperial court, by that time firmly rooted in Kyoto, commissioned written chronicles on the lives and times of all the locales under its control. The chronicle about Izumo, "Izumo Fudoki," is the only chronicle that remains extant from that effort, a source of history and pride for the people of the Izumo region.

Mitoya-cho is mentioned in Izumo Fudoki (written with different Chinese characters than are used today). According to this ancient chronicle, Mitoya-cho was a resting stop for wayfarers traveling from the Sanyodo Highway to Izumo. Today, Mitoya-cho, with its population of 8,600, continues the town's ancient tradition of marking a travelers' interchange, though now the interchange is where the Onomichi-Matsue Line, the Chugoku Transversal Highway (a modern multi-lane expressway).

<< Project Planning for the Cultural and Sports Pavilion >>

In the late 1990s, when the Mitoya-cho highway overpass construction became a certainty, Mitoya-cho made this construction the town's opportunity to realize a civic center that would combine facilities for performances, cultural activities and sports as well. In 1997, Mitoya-cho held a concept competition won by Maniwa Architectural Design Office. The architectural design phase was completed in March 1998, construction began in September 1998, and the facility was ready for use in March 2000.

<< Overview of the Pavilion's Facilities >>

The main facility of the Cultural and Sports Pavilion is a large hall/sports arena with fixed seating for an audience of 436 persons and additional, automatically deployable seating for up to 1,046 persons. In addition, the pavilion has a small hall/sub-arena, a music room and a fitness training room.

<< Adaptable Seating Makes the Large Hall "Two Facilities in One" >>

The 1,046 deployable seats of the large hall are set on rows of rolling platforms that deploy using electrical power, reducing the setup and "take down" time to change the hall's configuration to about 20 minutes. Compared with folding or stackable chairs, the electrically powered seating offers large savings in time and human effort, which translate into cost savings and smoother operations for the pavilion. In this implementation of the deployable seating, each row's platform also rises to a stepped sequence of heights, enhancing audience sight lines to the hall's stage and adding to the overall appeal of this hall for performance use.

Changing hall's configuration by taking down deployable seats

<< Guiding our Client toward a Design that Suits the Community >>

In designing the large hall/arena of the Mitoya-cho Pavilion, a major challenge was how to prioritize the diverse functionalities of a hall against the requirements of a fitness and sports arena. As the lead design acoustician on this project, I was pressed to decide whether I was designing an arena that could also be used as a performance hall, or a multipurpose hall that could also serve as a sports arena.

The town officials said that they wanted to build a hall with more than 1,000 seats that would be an appropriate and appealing venue for the entertainment industry to use for performances. But our experience told us that the community would more frequently use the pavilion if it were primarily a sports arena. We considered the alternative of building a separate, multipurpose performance hall in addition to a sports and fitness facility, but given the size of the town, this would have imposed too large a burden on its financial resources. After much discussion and consultation, the town agreed that the best facility to meet its needs would be one designed for daily use as an arena, but with the ability to be easily converted to a performance hall.

Looking over the stage
from back audience area

Fully set deployable seats

<< Refining the Specifications for the Hall and Arena Configurations >>

Our next major decision focused on the scale of the hall within the arena. In other words, we needed to decide what type of stage would be appropriate to meet the anticipated uses of the facility, with consideration for the structural design of the arena and the project's budget constraints. Because the structural design of the room prohibited us from including in our design the large free span necessary for a large-scale performance stage, and keeping in mind the relative cost benefits of our design options, we decided to implement a 500-seat-hall class stage.

In making our design decisions, we worked together with our client and the architect to accurately define all of the uses that the facility's large hall/arena would serve. We developed a long and diverse list that included symposia, town meetings, conferences, academic and artistic tournaments and their award ceremonies, other kinds of ceremonies, popular music concerts by brass bands and rock artists, performances by magicians and other stand-up artists, fashion shows, video and film showings, student theatrical performances, classical music concerts (for which we installed sound reinforcement equipment), exhibitions and many kinds of competitive sports events.

<< Room Acoustics >>

We set a reverberation time of +/- 2 seconds as our objective for the large hall/arena's hall-style configuration. To achieve this objective, we used sound-absorbing structural elements for both the side and rear walls of the room. Based on post-completion measurements of the room, our design resulted in a 1.7 second reverberation time and average absorptive coefficient of 0.24 for the hall-style configuration (occupied, at 500 Hz). The arena configuration, unoccupied, has a reverberation time of 2.8 seconds and average absorptive coefficient of 0.15. We tested the quality of reproduced sound and confirmed that the reverberation times afforded satisfactory sound quality in accordance with our expectations. In addition, the sound in the large hall/arena does not suffer from long path echoes or other disturbing phenomena that can be difficult to control in very large rooms.

<< Noise Attenuation Outside and Inside the Large Hall/Arena>>

Sports and fitness arenas are often designed with lots of glass windows that allow the sound from sporting competitions and other events held there to travel outside the facility. This causes problems with the surrounding community. For the Mitoya-cho Pavilion's large hall/arena, we used a three-point noise attenuation plan that included placing a corridor around the perimeter of the room, installing sound isolating window sashes and using reinforced concrete as the building material for the walls. As a result of this strategy, the sound isolation performance achieved is between 51 and 58 dB (at 500 Hz) at the borderline of the lot on which the pavilion stands.

Sports and fitness facilities are typically simple structures, and their simplicity makes it a challenge to include sufficient lengths of sound absorbing duct to attenuate the noise from the HVAC system. Because the preponderance of events and performances at the Mitoya-cho Pavilion would rely on the amplified sound of the sound system, we set our objective for hall quietness at no higher than NC-30. Additionally, we decided to aim for a noise level of NC-25 for mid-to-high-range octaves by focusing extra efforts on the details of implementing our design during the construction phase of the project. Using this approach, we achieved an overall quietness of between NC-23 and NC-29, and for octaves above 250 Hz, the noise level consistently measures below NC-25 curve. From a practical perspective, our success here means that there is no concern at all regarding noise from the HVAC system.

<< Budgeting for a Robust Sound System >>

In Japan, sound clarity is the sole sound system concern of most sports and fitness facilities. Compared with the very large space of such facilities, they usually have small budgets that restrict their choice of sound systems. There is also a general assumption that non-sports events and performances will be infrequent and that the producers of performance events will provide whatever sound system equipment they need and set it up on a temporary basis.

However, Mitoya-cho clearly wanted to ensure that its new facility would be used for stage performances, and it demonstrated this commitment by appropriating funds for both the expensive, electric-powered platform rows of audience seating, and for stage equipment. In particular, the Mitoya-cho officials allotted a substantial sum for the large hall/arena's sound system. Addressing the sound system needs of the large hall/arena was a major component of Nagata Acoustics' participation on this project.

<< The Large Hall/Arena's Sound System for Stage Performances >>

In planning for the large hall/arena's use as a performance space we focused on the sound system because, in large-scale rooms, how the audience experiences sound acts as the foundation for how they experience the entire performance. In very large rooms, the square footage of sound absorbing area is also large. This can be problematic for the sound experience, frequently causing sound volume to drop precipitously. To prevent this phenomenon and other large-space acoustical risks, a large-scale speaker system is essential.

For this project, we selected a mid-size, EAW 4way speaker system with a wide band of frequency response geared to popular music concerts and fully adequate for all kinds of music reproduction. We located an ample quantity of these speakers at the stage proscenium center and on its left and right sides. The speakers installed at the proscenium's sides produce especially fine and clear sound, which may possibly be attributed to the fact that the space immediately behind them is not reinforced concrete but the cloth stage curtain that allows sound to flow more freely. The sound system at Mitoya-cho Pavilion makes the facility truly capable of offering the fine sound reproduction desired for concert performances.

The Mitoya-cho Cultural and Sports Pavilion is a unique attempt to meet the performance space and sports arena needs of an area with limited population density. I will be deeply interested to follow the operation of this facility and learn how the town uses it as a hall venue.

For more information on the Mitoya-cho Cultural and Sports Pavilion (also known by the nickname Uspal), contact the hall directly at 1-1 Kojo, Mitoya-cho, Iishi-gun, Shimane Pref. The telephone number is +81-854-45-9222.

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Nagata Acoustics News 01-8(No.164)
Issued : August 25, 2001

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