ArtsCenter ends year in the black

Dec. 11, 2012 @ 05:30 PM

The ArtsCenter had revenue of $1.46 million for the year, and $1.32 million in expenses, giving the center a net increase in assets of $141,965 for the year. The increase in revenues came from a combination of increased grants and memberships, and expenses were trimmed by staff reductions.

The venue found more than $200,000 in new grant resources, and increased the number of memberships from about 300 to more than 600, said Julie Tomkovick, development director for the ArtsCenter.

In February 2011, the ArtsCenter’s board of directors eliminated two administrative positions. Last week, the ArtsCenter laid off Tess Mangum Ocaña, the concerts and facilities manager. Art Menius, who took over in April as executive director, said the cost of presenting concerts was just too high, and the elimination of the concerts manager position was part of the ArtsCenter’s effort to get on solid financial footing.

Menius said he was pleased by the numbers in the annual report, but he did not claim credit because he was not at the ArtsCenter until the last quarter of the fiscal year. He praised Jay Miller, the interim director, and board members who made the cuts and decisions necessary “for us to be a viable nonprofit.”

The increase in memberships and grants grew out of those efforts, Tomkovick said. “People needed to be shown that we were righting the ship,” she said. After they saw the efforts being made, more people were willing to come back on board, Tomkovick said.

The ArtsCenter’s staff and board are working on a long-range plan to guide the ArtsCenter’s future. At the January meeting, the board will look at a proposal, and once the plan is final, release it to the public, Menius said.

One issue likely on the table will be whether the ArtsCenter will primarily present concerts, or focus more on education. The biggest money-maker for the center is tuition for classes and youth programs, which Menius called “the bedrock of the ArtsCenter.” The venue’s concert space, the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater, seats about 350. Its small size was one reason concerts have become too expensive, Menius said last week. The American Roots series, which Ocaña created, begins again in January and is booked through June, but no music concerts are booked after that date.

In addition to concerts, ArtsCenter Stage presents original productions, along with the annual “10 by 10 in the Triangle” festival of short plays.

Among the ArtsCenter’s education programs are the ArtSchool, which last year served 2,340 students, according to the report. The center’s ArtsCamp, one of several summer youth programs, saw a 20 percent increase in enrollment last summer, translating to $40,000 in additional tuition, according to the report. Other teaching programs are the AfterSchool Arts Immersion program, serving children in grades K-5, and Arts in Education, which funds artists to teach classes in Orange County schools.

Under revenue for 2012, the report listed $272,549 in corporate and foundation grants, $384,900 in performance revenue, and $504,877 in program revenue. The ArtsCenter had expenses of  $244,201 for performances, $268,320 for programs, and $415,711 for salaries and related expenses.