With even the likes of the Cleveland Orchestra announcing salary cuts and other cutbacks to help cope with tough economic times, it’s no surprise that other organizations are feeling the pinch too. Beck Center for the Arts launched a viral fundraising campaign this morning (Tues. March 31) that included grave language: “If the Beck Center cannot raise funds from new sources, we are in danger of closing.”
Beck CEO Lucinda Einhouse says it’s for now-familiar reasons. “Big traditional sources of funding aren’t happening this year. Foundations and individuals that had made major gifts in the past are not able to, or are holding off. This organization doesn’t have a cushion to fall back on in tough times, and these are tough times. We need to raise $150,000 by the end of April.”
Beck’s budget is currently $2.3 million. The timing of their crisis is familiar because of their events calendar. Summer arts camp fees are not yet coming in, and neither are sales for a big summer musical, which the Beck counts on for an annual boost.
It’s a great sign that Beck isn’t cutting programs for the rest of the season to make up the money. That’s because what’s left in the theater season — a cult musical called Evil Dead in the Studio Theater, and the campy classic about the man-eating plant, Little Shop of Horrors, on the Main Stage — are both expected to add to the bottom line. And the Beck’s summer arts educational programming has always made money.
Einhouse says the next theater season won’t be curtailed, but that the shows chosen will probably reflect the need to sell tickets. “We’re going to do ‘light, fun, and recognizable,’” Einhouse said, adding that artistic director Scott Spence was already anticipating the need as he began to put the season together. She expects to announce a 2009-2010 season at the end of April.
Meanwhile: If you believe in the value of arts education, or the economic impact the Beck has in its neighborhood, or simply enjoy its theatrical productions, it’s time to pony up. — Michael Gill
Here’s the letter:
Now is the critical time to support the Beck Center. Be a Beck champion - donate today and forward this message to your friends!
In these tough economic times, people look for moments when they can smile. The Beck Center for the Arts was founded on the principle that music, theater, dance, painting, and other forms of art bring joy and comfort in good times and in bad.
The Beck Center now finds itself at a crossroads. Funding from our familiar sources is in short supply. In difficult economic times, arts organizations are particularly vulnerable, and we are pinching our pennies and stretching our dollars.
We now come to you for help. If the Beck Center cannot raise funds from new sources, we are in danger of closing. Our hallways, always echoing with laughter, music, and the promise of young talent, will be quiet.
We understand that our story is no different from many others these days. As a responsible non-profit, we are striving to be fiscally responsible and self sustaining. Over the past several years we have made progress, but now it is absolutely critical that we find new funding in order to remain a viable asset of our region. The Beck Center's regional impact of $10 million dollars every year would be sorely missed.
Yes, the economy is troubled. It will improve. It always does. But if the Beck Center closes now, there is little hope we will re-open.
The music will be silent. The dances will stop. The paints will remain sealed. The theater will be dark.
When times get better, what kind of community do we want to live in? One deprived of art or one whose sign reads "Open for Imagination"?
We are appealing to you to give whatever amount you can. To donate now, click here.
Want to do more to help? Be our champion! Forward this message to at least 10 of your friends who would understand the value of the Beck Center and that the arts are absolutely critical in creating a vibrant, sustainable community. And if you have a personal story to tell about the Beck, please add it to your appeal.
On behalf of the community, families, and children that we serve, we thank you!
Beck Center for the Arts