Overture Center announces preservation plans
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a worldwide impact on businesses and individuals. The arts industry thrives on bringing people together through the arts. Closures were necessary to protect public health, and while state economies are reopening, the entertainment and hospitality sectors are expected to be the last to recover.
The pandemic has seriously impacted Overture Center financially. The financial impact of the pandemic for our fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 will be in the millions.
The Executive Leadership Team has evaluated several options aimed at financial preservation. As we created this framework for the future, it was critical to support all the people involved, from our employees to our patrons. We also considered how to best address the needs of our building and our resident arts companies while recognizing their independence. The framework for our plan to move forward was approved by Overture’s Board of Directors.
Overture Center Board Chair Betty Harris Custer said, “Our plans are still evolving, but everything is being done to secure Overture’s future and that of our employees.”
As announced last week, we have reduced our staff by 60%. In addition, we have implemented the following cost-saving measures:
1. Suspended Overture performance series and in-person programs; we will take an “Intermission.”
Overture Center has been closed since March 13, and all performances and other activities are suspended until further notice. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many touring shows are not traveling around the country, which means Overture will not have a presenting season this fall. There will be no public performances through the end of November. We are exploring the possibility of holiday programming in December. We will follow city, state and national guidelines and will reopen when it is safe to do so.
We will continue to work closely with and support our resident arts companies as much as possible. We have collaborated with them on our plans. They will be releasing their own statements about their plans. By working together, we hope to ensure Overture can maintain its central role in the artistic ecosystem of our community.
While the building will be essentially closed, our mission will continue. A lesson learned during this period is that Overture’s mission and community impacts extend beyond a building.
We successfully pivoted on the following programs, presenting them as virtual experiences:
- 2020/21 season announcement
- Gallery exhibits
- Jerry Awards announcement and show
- Cocktails with Tim and Karra
- Kids in the Rotunda performances
Overture Center continues to bring the arts to our community through virtual programming and a collection of educational resources and entertainment: Access the Arts from Home.
Digital engagement with patrons, donors and subscribers can be tailored to their relationship with Overture and as well as reach new audiences as fans share our content via their social media channels.
Our mission fulfillment will look different, and what “sticks” can carry into a new hybrid mission-service model of digital and live community engagement.
2. Suspended the search for a new CEO.
The search for a new CEO and President has been suspended. It is not viable to bring on a new leader in our current situation. We plan to revive the search when the time is right. The Board of Directors has put its trust in the experienced Executive Team to lead the organization.
3. Reduced or eliminated overhead expenses wherever possible.
The budget for overhead expenditures was reduced by more than 60%.
“We are very grateful to our employees, our patrons and subscribers for their support to weather the past three months,” said Chris Vogel, COO of Overture Center. “We know that more support will be needed moving forward, and fundraising will continue to be essential during the intermission to meet our responsibilities and mission to the community.”
As plans evolve, Overture is committed to sharing information. News and information about reopening and performance schedules will be updated on our website: overture.org.
Ticketholders for Overture Presents and Broadway at Overture will be contacted regarding individual performance status and options as shows confirm their changes.
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