Carmel theater group pleads for cash to stay afloat

While awaiting word on a possible $75,000 grant from the city of Carmel, Actors Theatre of Indiana made a plea for emergency donations Wednesday afternoon.

“We submitted a proposal for $75,000 to the mayor in June, with the understanding that grants would be awarded in early July. Now, three months later, ATI is experiencing significant cash-flow issues due to the delay in funding the arts by the Carmel City Council,” founders Cindy Collins, Don Farrell, and Judy Fitzgerald said in an e-mail sent to their supporters.

Actors Theatre is one of several groups for which Mayor Jim Brainard sought additional funding in June. That $1.6 million request is still before the Carmel City Council’s finance committee.

ATI, founded in 2005, became the professional theater in residence of Carmel’s new Center for the Performing Arts in 2011.

Moving to the Center for the Performing Arts meant a dramatic increase in rent, ATI said. "We are being forced to cut some performances to reduce that expense, but that won't solve our immediate problem," according to the e-mail.

"We are doing everything we can to cut expenses," ATI's e-mail said. The group is trying to meet payroll for "Gypsy," and it's planning its next production, which begins Oct. 26.

Committee Chairwoman Luci Snyder said Wednesday that she’s waiting for Brainard to determine whether he can find some or all of the money in various city departments’ fund balances. The city is more than three months away from the end of its fiscal year, but Snyder said some departments are predictable in under-spending their annual appropriations.

Even if the council grants the mayor’s request, Actors Theatre and other groups would have to go through a grant-approval process, Snyder said. Organizations receiving more than $60,000 have to submit an audit; those receiving more than $50,000 have to submit an accountant’s review.

In general, the city funds can’t account for more than one-third of an organization’s total revenue.

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