Before the renovation, Steele says, “I had multiple employees who didn’t have a desk at all. I was in a closet on the second floor. It was a huge problem, but I didn’t need the whole floor, and so I said, ‘What could we do?’”
Then, he realized that renting the rest of the floor was a way to solve a problem for other arts organizations needing not only office but meeting space.
Now, Steele and other center employees work together on one side, while tenant arts organizations occupy individual offices. Conference rooms, office equipment and a kitchen are shared.
Besides easy access to the theater, tenants also have access to Gillioz “eventologists” offering help with planning as well as promotions, Steele says. In November, for example, the Gillioz was working with MOJO Executive Director Randy Hamm to coordinate that group’s holiday show.
Reflecting on the opera’s “Opera Rocks!” concert with the M-Dock Band last spring, Steele says future collaboration among Springfield arts groups could strengthen all.
“My primary responsibility is to keep this 97-year-old institution not only alive but thriving,” he says. “So when you’re looking around and being part of the arts community, you’re thinking, ‘Well, how can I meet my mission and along the way make the others stronger as well?’”