In 1988, the Broward Cultural Division completed its Cultural Master Plan. One recommendation was to improve business involvement in the arts by starting a Broward County Affiliate of the very successful national program, Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA). With leadership from the Cultural Arts Task Force of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and the Broward Cultural Affairs Council (BCAC) this recommendation was realized in July 1988, when BVA/Broward was incorporated as a non-profit organization in Florida. With the receipt of 501(C)(3) status from the IRS BVA/Broward, Inc. began operations in January of 1989.
By 1991, a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) program was established, followed by the ArtServe Business Center (ABC), which was made possible by a three-year, $150,00 National Endowment for the Arts grant award. The three programs, BVA, VLA and ABC, were merged in 1993 under the umbrella of ArtServe.
ArtServe is now centrally located in Fort Lauderdale, sharing its 25,000 sq. ft. venue with a Broward County branch library. This multi-purpose facility provides low-cost space where artists, non-profits and the public can hold classes, workshops, performances, meetings, events, and conduct business.
Available spaces include:
- Multi-purpose Auditorium
- Main Art Gallery
- Dance Studio
- Artist Studios and Art Class Space
- Private Gallery Exhibition Spaces
- Affordable offices and suites for artists and non-profits
- Flex space for workshops, presentations and training
- Board and Meeting Rooms
- Gift Shop
The Business Center features nearly 20 private office suites which rent for low rates, thereby allowing cultural non-profits and organizations that support non-profits to minimize their administrative overhead, and put more resources back into building their organization. The facilities are provided at low rates to artists and nonprofit organizations.
ArtServe’s scope of services has expanded and numerous programs have been added to meet the demands of the South Florida arts community. Through private and public funding, ArtServe has developed a series of programs aimed at strengthening and assisting local artists and nonprofit cultural groups in their business-related and marketing efforts.
ArtServe has become a national model for other arts incubators and artist-support groups.