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Arts groups prepare fundraising campaigns

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Year In Review

After hunkering down into survival mode for two years, arts groups prepared to meet the economic recovery with fundraising pitches.

This year, five organizations announced or began preparing for the launch of major campaigns. The targets ranged from $12.5 million for Heartland Truly Moving Pictures to $100 million for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art are all working toward launches in 2011.

A sixth player is The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The city is paying for construction of the concert hall and theater complex, but Executive Director Steven Libman still must raise money for the 2011 opening season and, eventually, a supporting endowment. The center hasn’t announced its goals.

Although economic conditions aren’t ideal, donors aren’t as downright frightened as they were when the stock market was plunging, said Frank Basile, a retired Gene B. Glick Co. executive who holds active or honorary posts on several boards.

Besides, he said, arts leaders believe they can’t afford to wait any longer to restore their balance sheets.

“That’s why you have more people now that are beginning to launch campaigns,” he said.

The symphony departed from the usual strategy of quietly gathering major gifts before making a public pronouncement. Instead, the ISO announced its campaign in June with the news that Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay had agreed to serve as co-chairmen.

Civic Theatre, which recently dropped “Indianapolis” from its name, is planning a campaign around its move next fall from the campus of Marian University to the Carmel performing arts center.

Eiteljorg CEO John Vanausdall said the museum was working on a strategy for an endowment-building drive.

More than other types of not-for-profits, arts groups rely heavily on the wealthiest donors.•

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  1. PJ - Mall operators like Simon, and most developers/ land owners, establish individual legal entities for each property to avoid having a problem location sink the ship, or simply structure the note to exclude anything but the property acting as collateral. Usually both. The big banks that lend are big boys that know the risks and aren't mad at Simon for forking over the deed and walking away.

  2. Do any of the East side residence think that Macy, JC Penny's and the other national tenants would have letft the mall if they were making money?? I have read several post about how Simon neglected the property but it sounds like the Eastsiders stopped shopping at the mall even when it was full with all of the national retailers that you want to come back to the mall. I used to work at the Dick's at Washington Square and I know for a fact it's the worst performing Dick's in the Indianapolis market. You better start shopping there before it closes also.

  3. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  4. If you only knew....

  5. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

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