Carmel's Center for Performing Arts trims staff

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The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel eliminated five positions this week as interim CEO Frank Basile tries to rein in costs at the financially challenged organization that oversees the Palladium.

Spokesman John Hughey said the five employees were in fundraising, production and outreach, but he didn't disclose the exact positions.

“We wish to honor the privacy of center staff,” Hughey said. “The changes are a result of streamlining operational procedures.”

Basile declined to elaborate on the job cuts, which leave the center with 36 full-time and six part-time employees. Hughey said no other staff changes are in the works.

Basile has said that he’s trying to cut costs with an eye toward the center's 2012-13 season, which kicks off next fall.

The center’s current budget of $14.5 million is for the 2011-12 season, which involves 81 shows scheduled in the facility's three different venues. The center also is home to the Tarkington theater and the Studio Theater.

About 38 percent of the budget is supported by the public, Basile said in a presentation to the Carmel City Council Monday night. Basile gave the presentation at the request of council members, who wanted to an overview of current operations.

The council last year gave the center $2 million to cover its operating costs, but it’s not subsidizing the center this year. Instead, the center will use a $5.5 million grant from the Carmel City Center Community Development Corp., also known as 4CDC.

Basile, an arts philanthropist and a board member of the not-for-profit foundation that operates the center, stepped into the job after Steven Libman resigned abruptly in late July.



  • Marlene's right, sort of
    Marlene is correct. We should not be spending tax dollars on sports facilities either. These are private enterprises that feed at the public trough. Such facilities are supported by the construction industry and various ancillary services such as architects, insurance companies, etc. If the public knew the true cost, they would not be supported. If Marlene wants to see the Oak Ridge Boys or whoever, her ticket ought to cover the cost of the facility along with the act. The same is true for Colts or Pacers fans.
    I applaud the council for holding the line on this. An accounting should be made public. Enough of this out-of-control spending! While many Carmel residents are financially comfortable/wealthy, many are also struggling to hold on to their homes & find jobs! They can't even afford to go to the Paladium, let alone subsidize the Mayor's pet so the well-off can attend events! Let those who use it pay for it.
  • Not the Center
    I don't think folks have a problem with the center in and of itself. I think some folks are frustrated by the fact they feel the mayor pulled a bait and switch on them. At first it was going to cost $80MM to build and need a $300k annual subsidy. Now the price tag is somewhere around $175MM with a $10MM subsidy to date, and another $4MM to $5MM needed for next year.

    The mayor also promised to raise funds for an endowment to help cover operations. Whatever effort he put into that endeavor appear to have fallen very short.

    The poor folks who lost their jobs today were victims bad management more than anything else.
  • Good for Region???
    Marlene is spot on in one respect when she says that the arts are essential (frankly, basic) to any good city/region. Where she misses, I believe, is when she argues that the Center specifically is good for the Indianapolis region. Were the Center to foster only "new" art that had not previously been in the region, I would agree. Instead, much of the offerings actually seem to be seem to be taking away/competing from/with already-existing venues/offerings. Our population has not grown so much that it can support that. Still, I've been encouraged to hear reports that many people who had not previously been concert-goers, have been at least slightly engaged and exposed to things they had not previously seen. If that could be the Center's mission (to reach previously unreached people without taking away existing arts structures), that would be great.
  • Tax Support for Sports but not Arts???
    Why is it OK for tax payers to directly and indirectly (sales tax on food, beverage etc.)support sports venues but not the arts? A good part of the reason that Carmel's property taxes are one of the lowest in the state is because businesses find Carmel attractive and can attract the type of employees needed to be successful. It is a quality of life issue, and the Performing Arts Center adds immeasurably to the ability to continue to create prosperity for not only Carmel, but the greater Indianapolis area.
    • As I said------
      I give it 3 years to bottom out. The taxpayers do not need to support it.

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