Why NPAC Matters

Newport Performing Arts Center / Why NPAC Matters

The restoration and revitalization of the Newport Performing Arts Center will bring year-round performing arts to downtown Newport – dance, music, theater, comedy, speakers, educational programming and much more – and restore an architectural treasure in historic Washington Square. It will bring new jobs and renewed vitality to our community’s historic downtown.

Most importantly, it will have an enormously positive impact upon Newport, Rhode Island and the region by serving as an economic driver, an educational catalyst, and cultural asset to our city and the region.


The restoration of the Newport Performing Arts Center will have an important economic impact upon our community—both during construction and after its opening as a year round performance venue.

Economic impact models indicate that NPAC will be a significant engine for economic development in Newport via direct employment as well as ancillary spending by local and theater-going audiences on dining, parking, retail shopping and accommodations.

According to The Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, the revitalization of the Opera House Theater will have a significant impact on our local economy:

  • During renovation the economic impact is calculated to be over $15 million, supporting 181 jobs in Newport County.
  • The Newport Opera House Theater and its audiences will generate $1.6 million per year in new direct and indirect economic activity, once the theater is open and presenting, including supporting 54 jobs in Newport County with an annual payroll of approximately $367,359.

In addition to the initial building and construction during the restoration, the long-term economic impacts are widely distributed among numerous sectors of the Newport County economy, although the most significant impacts are wholesale trade, eating and drinking establishments, general retail stores, and other consumer sectors such as health and education services

Arts and culture are at the root of a vibrant community, and vibrancy attracts people and dollars. People who come to enjoy the arts help generate income for local businesses —restaurants, parking garages, hotels, and retail stores. An average arts attendee spends $24.60 per event, in addition to the price of a ticket (National Findings | Americans for the Arts)

The arts are a powerful engine for creating jobs and attracting new dollars to a community. Arts non-profits account for $324 million in direct and indirect spending in Rhode Island, and when creative and arts-driven businesses are included in the calculations, the creative sector accounts for 12.7% of all employment in the state.



In Newport County alone there are more than 13,000 elementary and secondary students enrolled in over 25 schools and another 100,000 college students within 60 miles. NPAC will be a center for youth and family programming and the performance home for numerous local educational programs. NPAC will provide a variety of classrooms, mentoring spaces, and performance opportunities in music, theater and dance for students of all ages. Through partnerships with the professional music festivals, dance and theater companies, and other regional arts organizations, students will be introduced to various art forms, creativity and imagination. In addition, the theater will provide a space for different communities to interact with each other and offer opportunities for collaborative artistic endeavors.

Arts can transform the lives of some of our most isolated and at-risk young people. NPAC will work with educators to ensure that the arts are a vital part of every child’s education. Students will experience language arts, science and history through the arts. The organization will foster and encourage the growth of creative thinking and creative abilities in the young people of Newport County through partnerships with other cultural organizations and the various school systems. Educational programming will be developed and delivered in collaboration with local and national organizations renowned for their work with young people, such as  Trinity Repertory Theater, Theaterworks, The Acting Company, and Community Music Works / Newport Strings Project.



Newport’s public officials, tourism professionals, educators, business people and residents all have a stake in the revitalization of the Newport Performing Arts Center. In addition to increased year-round economic activity, NPAC will provide the community with permanent performance facilities, year-round local access to cultural events and performers, and new educational and civic engagement opportunities. It will present a broad range of live music, theater, comedy, dance and other cultural and entertainment programs.

No theater within 50 miles has a capacity between 400 and 1,000; NPAC’s 700 seats are a unique asset that will attract performers currently limited to outdoor appearances in the area. Potential partnerships with Newport’s Folk and Jazz Festivals, the Newport Music Festival, Rhode Island Philharmonic, Island Moving Company, Trinity Repertory Theater, existing summer season presenters and others will provide local arts organizations with a quality performance space that will help extend seasons and develop year-round audiences

NPAC’s location in Washington Square, a National Historic Landmark District, places it squarely at the cultural, historic, commercial and architectural crossroads of fabulous Newport, Rhode Island. The three-story structure’s brick façade ties in the Federalist and Georgian architectural styles of other important historic buildings on Washington Square. Inside, the rehabilitated interior will preserve historically significant detail, including the ornate plaster work, the 1929 proscenium arch, and the vaulted lobby ceiling. The new theater will  blend the grandeur of yesteryear with the technology of today.