Brainard requests more money for Carmel arts center

Carmel Mayor James Brainard wants to give the Center for the Performing Arts another $840,000 to cover its bills through December—on top of a $5.5 million subsidy he orchestrated last fall.

The latest grant is part of a resolution, which will go before the Carmel City Council Monday, to put $1.62 million into the city’s Support for the Arts Fund.

“We had a huge deficit,” Brainard said of the performing arts center, which is run by a separate not-for-profit organization. “Progress is being made.”

Brainard is requesting the subsidy as interim CEO Frank Basile, also a member of the arts center’s board, prepares to hand the reins to Tania Castroverde Moskalenko on Aug. 13. She succeeds Steven Libman, who resigned suddenly last year.

The arts center will have used the $5.5 million it received as a grant from the Carmel City Center Community Development Corp., or 4CDC, by the time its fiscal year ends June 30, Brainard said. If approved, the additional $840,000 will come from the city's general fund.

Moskalenko, who led the Germantown Performing Arts Centers near Memphis, Tenn., from a $500,000 deficit to a $300,000 surplus, emphasized a need to find private sources of funding to augment more-modest government subsidies.

“It’s so visionary of the community to do this; it speaks volumes,” she said about Carmel’s monetary contributions.

Brainard said his goal is to reduce the arts center’s annual operating subsidy to $2 million a year, though he doesn’t think that will happen by 2013. He said doesn’t know yet how much he’ll request from the council for next year.

One way the city might save the performing arts center money is to take over its janitorial services and pay the utility bills directly.

“We’re paying it indirectly now through that subsidy,” he said.

Brainard’s proposal would mean more money for 16 other arts groups as well. The Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre would get $190,000, Carmel Symphony Orchestra would get $200,000, and the Carmel Repertory Theatre Inc. would get $150,000.

All those groups are resident companies at the center, paying rent.

The proposed $1.62 million is much more than the council planned to spend last fall. At the time, the council approved $265,000 to support local arts groups, Brainard said.

The bigger allocation is possible now, he said, because the city's tax revenue increased by $6.5 million, thanks to the Indiana Department of Revenue's recently discovered accounting error. 


IBJ reporter Dan Human contributed to this story.


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