"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Friday, 24 August 2012

FYI...Copiied From Elsewhere

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Stouffville arts centre getting profitable

This is the year the Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment - Nineteen on the Park may turn a profit.
Earlier this summer, it was predicted the three-year-old arts centre in downtown Stouffville would have a shortfall of $2,301 come the end of 2012. But thanks to an adjusted Ontario Arts Council grant, it may go into the black.
The facility – which cost $3.8 million to renovate and open in 2009 –  actually received $7,250 for the upcoming season, versus the initially reported $5,000, according to Steven Foster, cultural facility and programming co-ordinator for the Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment - Nineteen on the Park.
Adding to the potential for a surplus is the anticipated ticket sales for shows this fall, according to Mr. Foster.
“This is really good news,” said Councillor Rob Hargrave, during Mr. Foster’s recent council presentation. “I know it’s a tough thing to get launched off the ground, Your value-add is getting out there.”
The arts centre board gave itself three years to break even. Although Mayor Wayne Emmerson noted it could take up to five years.
“It takes a while to get it off the ground,” he said during the council meeting.
Mr. Emmerson also noted the facility’s floor has some noticeable wear and tear to it.
“If a building is being used, that is what will happen,” he said.
In their effort to turn a profit, Mr. Foster said the board has worked diligently at cutting its maintenance expenses, which includes pushing the purchase of equipment they now have to rent on occasion, to 2013.
Savings have also been found with staff salaries/benefits thanks to a Trillium Foundation grant.
When it comes to generating revenues, the board has reduced its fundraising goal from $15,000 to $10,000.
“Fifteen thousand dollars was a rather ambitious goal,” Mr. Foster admitted to The Sun-Tribune in an interview.
This year’s inaugural fundraiser gala brought in $5,000 and Mr. Foster said the facility’s board is currently putting together another fundraiser to take place during the Christmas season.
Another revenue source – sponsorship – is expected to be right on budget at $10,000, according to the council report. But the board, according to Mr. Foster, is hoping to increase it.
“There’s a real effort this year to really go after the revenue side more aggressively,” he told The Sun-Tribune.
That includes changing things up a bit when it comes to booking performers.
Mr. Foster said there was a conscious effort on his part to book more popular/wider appealing acts, versus the indie performers of the previous seasons.
But that still does not guarantee more money, as ticket sales fluctuate from event to event. If 75 to 80-per-cent capacity is reached for the majority of the remaining 2012 events, Mr. Foster said it would equate to an additional $5,000 in revenue.
During the 2011-2012 professional series, there were three sold-out performances and according to Mr. Foster, most theatres anticipate 60 to 65 capacity for any given event.
“It can be pretty random,” he told The Sun-Tribune.
In order to bring performers to Stouffville, it will cost $10,000 more than anticipated versus the projection made at the beginning of the year. The cost is now expected to be $81,000, which Mr. Foster said is still in-line with previous years.
“I’ve been pretty good in working with agents to bring down the cost. Given the economic climate over the past few years, it’s easier to work with agents in negotiations,” he said.
The challenge no longer appears to be getting people to buy tickets, but to actually find the facility, according to Mr. Foster.
“It’s been a challenge. ... We don’t have a storefront,” he told The Sun-Tribune.
There is currently a message kiosk at the top of Civic Square at Main Street, which houses event posters, but the quality varies depending if it is a community event or part of the facility’s professional series.
Mr. Foster hopes early next year there will be a new electronic message centre in its place.
The approximately $10,000 unit is in the town’s 2013 capital budget, according to Mr. Foster.
In his council report, Mr. Foster noted the electronic marquee would establish the facility and Civic Square as a downtown “landmark”. It would promote not only facility events, but those taking place within the downtown, such as the farmers’ market and outdoor movie nights.
“A study by the Small Business Administration (USA) has shown that the use of an electronic message centre increases revenues by 15 per cent at a minimum. Based on our 2012 budget this would represent an increase of $15,750 in ticket sales,” according to the council report.


Anonymous said...

I'm afraid you are preaching to the converted. Unless Council throws the Center off their gravy-train, there is no motive to self-support. We just go over the same old arguments in order to be met by the same old denial.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why, when there are so many people being asked by the provincial and federal governments to do their part by economizing or freezing salaries or cutting back benefits and pensions during a time when just about everything and everybody is facing some kind of financial stress or hardship, the damned cultural centre and jazz festival people, think that the rest of us should be sustaining their fiscal challenges.
Enough already!

Anonymous said...

I am sick of Council letting Aurora be used as a punching bag by the Center and the St.Kitts bunch. What does it take to make Mayor Dawe angry enough to fight for his town?
Feel free not to post this if it is a problem.