Extra money for Carmel arts groups on hold

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Carmel Mayor James Brainard's request for an additional $1.36 million in arts funding is lingering in a city council committee.

Most of the money, $840,000, would go to the Center for the Performing Arts to help it pay bills through December.

The extra spending remains before the council's finance committee, and committee chairwoman Luci Snyder said the request won't be approved until the performing arts center signs a contract for its use of space in the James Building, which sits across the lawn from the Palladium concert hall.

The James Building, which is controlled by the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, houses offices and the performing arts center's theater spaces. The lack of a formal lease is an issue that’s been flagged by the State Board of Accounts.

In the meantime, Snyder said the council is reviewing the financial condition of the 14 other cultural groups that would receive grants through Brainard’s request. The council could dole the money out of its general fund or incorporate the spending into a $195 million refinancing package on redevelopment commission debt, she said.

Frank Basile, interim CEO of the performing arts center, said the delay is not affecting his ability to pay bills.

"We have sufficient funds for the time being to carry us through, so we’re not in any kind of financial problem," Basile said Wednesday morning.

Brainard put forward the request in June. The performing arts center, which received a $5.5 million subsidy last fall, needs more money to cover a revenue gap in the first half of its fiscal year, which began July 1. (The city's fiscal year begins Jan. 1). Brainard thinks the city can afford the additional spending because the city is due to receive $6.5 million more in tax revenue this year due to a state accounting error.

The council will spend $265,000 on grants to the Carmel Repertory Theatre and Carmel Symphony Orchestra, two local resident companies of the performing arts center, Snyder said. Those grants were already included in the city’s 2012 budget.

Brainard’s special spending request also includes $190,000 for the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, another resident company, and grants ranging from $2,500 to $55,000 for other performing arts groups that use the center.

Other types of cultural arts groups would receive a share. The Carmel Clay Historical Society and Museum of Miniature Houses each would receive $10,000. The Carmel International Arts Festival would get $25,000.

The Carmel Redevelopment Commission and the performing arts center, which is run by a private, not-for-profit foundation, have never had a lease or contract for the James Building. Basile, who is also on the foundation's board of directors, said lawyers for the two sides are working out an agreement that will clarify who is responsible for utilities and other expenses. The performing arts center pays no rent to the CRC, and that will continue to be the case under the contract, he said.


  • Kind of
    Keep your eyes out. Many of the same concerns and PAC's that back Brainard, are in line to do the same in Zionsville.
  • Actors Theatre of Indiana is the resident professional theatre company at the Center for the Performing Arts.
    Actors Theatre of Indiana (ATI) is proud to be the resident professional theatre company of the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, as well as Hamilton County’s only professional Equity theatre company. ATI sets the highest artistic standards, creating the powerful experience of shared live theatre for its community, with subscribers as far away as New York City and Georgia. In 2005 Cynthia Collins, Don Farrell and Judy Fitzgerald, three professional performers moved from New York City to Indiana and founded Actors Theatre of Indiana. With over seventy-four years of combined experience ranging from Off Broadway, National & International Tours, Symphony Orchestras, Regional, Summer Stock and Dinner Theatre, they have had the opportunity to work in some of the finest theatres in the country with some of the most respected people in the industry. Since its incorporation in 2005, Actors Theatre of Indiana has produced world premieres of such works as – "A Rosie Evening: The Music of Rosemary Clooney", "This Could Be The Start of Something Big!", "Broadway Brass: A Tribute to the Great Ladies of Broadway", "Stardust Memories: The Life & Music of Hoagy Carmichael" and the Indiana premieres of "Beyond The Rainbow – The Judy Garland Story"; "MY WAY: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra"; "A Year With Frog & Toad", and "Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrews Sisters." ATI stages its 76 annual public performances from the Studio Theatre in the James Building across the Green from the Palladium. During those performances, the actors, directors, designers, musicians, and stagehands are entirely salaried. These artists have developed their natural gifts by dedicating themselves to years of study, participating in apprenticeships, young artist programs, and both undergraduate and graduate degrees in theatre. ATI earned the title of BEST THEATRE GROUP IN INDY by ABC RTV6/INDYchannel.com A-LIST four years in a row (2007 - 2010)! According to the Indianapolis Star, "ATI has put itself at the top of the heap. It's also raised the bar for production standards for every theatre in town." For more information on our upcoming season, please visit our website at www.actorstheatreofindiana.org.
  • New Use for Paladium
    I think it would make a nice paint ball facility. We could fill it full of old cars and spray paint the inside & out. It already has a music system so we can at least use that.
  • Can't bail fast enough...
    How this civic managerial debacle continues without serious challenge is amazing. Incredible budget overruns and occupancy w/o formal leases or contracts in place. Tax payer subsidized competitive commercial development undercutting commercial tax base "underwriters." Migration of solvent retailers out of the market due to irrational or disadvantageous zoning. Geez, people of Carmel, wake up and see that the promises and commitments made by your Mayor and cronies are unsustainable and ultimately yours to bear sink or swim.
  • One More Point
    Let's not lose sight that nearly all of this money will end up at the Palladium to further subsidize its operations. Nearly every one of the organizations in line to receive these funds rents space from the Palladium. This is just another way for the Mayor to fund his White Elephant without asking for the cash directly.
  • Civic Theatre
    Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre (formerly Indianapolis Civic Theatre)has had the lights on every year since 1915, is Indiana's largest community theatre, is one of the nation's longest continuously operating community theatres, and among the ten largest nationwide. Every year it serves over 45,000 community members through opportunities onstage, behind the scenes, in the audience, and in the classroom, generating over $2 million in economic activity for the community, beyond what is earned income for the Theatre. Civic's unique hybrid of talented avocational artists led by the direction of experienced theatre professionals (three of whom possess MFAs in their artistic disciplines) ensures the artistic integrity of each production, while maintaining reasonable ticket prices for patrons. Civic implements its 90 annual public performances from the James Building, a 500-seat proscenium theatre across the Green from the Palladium.
  • If It Ain't Baroque, Don't Fix It
    From what I have seen of the line up at the Palladium, they are competing with State Fairs and Casinos for "talent". Makes you wonder what Basile and Feinstein are doing to justify their huge salaries, subsidies, free rents, tax payer funded self-promotions, etc..... Again, I'm glad it's not all being done on my dime.
  • Palladian audience
    It's amazing that so much money was spent on the Palladian when our residents aren't "cultured" enough to know not to applaud between movements or that they should not leave the theater between movements. $150 million for hillbilly and rock music! I can't believe it. When we had the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra perform, there were no more than fifty people in the audience. John Holloway, the director and violinist is one of the greatest Baroque violinists in the world and they probably didn't even know what Baroque music was. Ensemble Oubache, now Voltaire had their first series of concerts in our little town and hardly anyone showed up so they left us for Indianapolis. Carmel isn't ready for "high brow" music so the 150 million dollar building will be great for the rock bands, country singers etc. How sad!!
    • Expensive Community Center
      The Palladium is certainly impressive but why is Carmel spending so much money to put community theaters in it? Doesn't that just make it a grand community center where local amateurs get together to play theater? Does the council not understand the difference between community theater and real theater? If that's the case, they should educate themselves about what they are buying before spending our money. Many of us have lived in places where real theater thrives and brings money into the local economy. The local yokels here don't seem to realize that communinty theater is a benefit for local people who want to perform but were not good enough to make it in real theater - nice but hardly what one would expect to see in such a grand facility. Carmel should be aiming higher. If they are going to spend this money on the arts, it should be spent on organizations that have the possibility of creating economic development - how about developing a real regional theater company that brings professional performers from everywhere? - a company that has potential to draw patrons (and their dollars) from around the state or region. It is possible - look at Minneapolis and Louisville. Seriously - Carmel Repertory Theatre - what the hell is that?! do you think anyone would drive from Indy (much less Columbus or further)to see them?
      • Need a New Statue for the Palladium
        Can we get a statue of a Carmel taxpayer bending over??
      • Uh-oh
        Total incompetence + hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of debt = big big trouble
      • Smoke and Mirrors
        I sure am glad I'm not on the hook for any of that debt. Brainard can't annex Boone Co., can he?

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