Monday, May 07, 2007

Get educated about the venues...then decide.

Where do you stand on the venues is a question I get asked a lot from fellow students in my MBA class and people I run into in the community. I am the arts guy and the only nonprofit person in my 35-member class, so I naturally get tagged with questions in these areas. I often like these questions because I get a chance to help educate or point a person in the right direction to get educated about the issues, in this case the venues.

People assume that because of my position I must be close to the process of the plan to build the performing arts center. The official position of the Alliance is that we do support the buildling of a new performing arts center, but outside of the Orlando Ballet, Orlando Opera, Orlando Philharmonic, Festival of Orchestras and the SunTrust Broadway Series (the local groups that will primarily use the space), none of the arts community has been closely involved in the strategic process. In fact, I think the board and staff behind the performing arts center could have done a much better strategic job of engaging the greater arts community.

The venues are currently under great scrutiny and the Orange County Commission, who has yet to approve the plans of the venues, could vote to turn down the proposal. It is definitely a pinnacle moment in our burgeoning city's growth no matter where you sit. I think that many people already felt it was a done deal. It isn't at all though.

The Orange County Commissioners have been hosting education sessions to gain feedback from the public. There are two left. You can see the Alliance website for the times and places. The Performing Arts Center and Project Hometown are also asking that as many arts patrons and staff sign a petition in favor of the proposed performing arts center. Now, I am not going to tell you to sign this letter. The Alliance doesn’t' work in that manner. What I am going to highly encourage is that you attend one or both of these final sessions. Educate yourself, so that you can make your own decision about signing the petition. If you have already made up your mind and want to sign the letter, email The Performing Arts Center has had the most public support, but right now it is tied closely to the other venues because the strategy was to bundle the venues together.