Brownstone Center for the Arts – the ‘big picture’ for impact

Published 1:29 pm Monday, October 7, 2013

Pearl River Community College (PRCC) marked the grand opening of the Brownstone Center for the Arts with a spectacular performance by the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra.  The Brownstone Center was made possible by Pearl River County native Ethel Holden Brownstone.  The 1931 graduate of Pearl River Agricultural High School and Junior College bestowed a substantial gift to PRCC, of which $4 million was invested into the Center.

Certainly, investing a total of $10.4 million into a center of this magnitude makes a significant economic impact on a community.  Of course, architects, construction workers and others benefitted from the investment in the design and construction of the facility.  While those dollars were impactful, history will determine the “big picture” economic impact of the facility.

There will be people traveling into Poplarville and Pearl River County to attend performances.  Hopefully, with each performance, these visitors will dine at local restaurants and visit other businesses in the area.  This type of impact is measurable and studied by various researchers investigating the impact of venues such as the Brownstone Center.  Any time money changes hands there is an economic impact.

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The “big picture” impact of this center begins with the fact that PRCC is chartered to educate students.  With the establishment of the Brownstone Center, PRCC is now the envy of local colleges and universities that have no comparable facilities.  This fact alone gives PRCC an edge in attracting the brightest and best students of the arts in this region.  Bright, high performing students often go on to become great professionals in their field.  Helping to keep these young professionals, and their earnings, in the region could be the biggest economic result of this center!

Another “big picture” impact that this center can make involves attracting new businesses to the area.  When a business begins investigating communities for business growth opportunities, a factor termed “quality of life” is a top ten selection criteria.  Having good schools and roads will get communities a first look from a business looking to expand into a new region.  Having a facility such as the Brownstone Center, will garner a community that coveted second or third look.

Yes, the grand opening of the Brownstone Center was historical.  Hopefully, history will show that the opening of the Brownstone Center served as a renaissance moment in the growth and development of PRCC, Poplarville and Pearl River County.