Thursday, September 01, 2005

Interplayers carries on

If you don't like how blogs like this one foment and spread mere rumors, then how about their ability to squelch incorrect rumors?

Bobo had been hearing that Interplayers was having financial difficulties, that the season was in danger, and worse.

But Interplayers' Executive Director Mary Ann McCurdy emerged from a board meeting this week to report today that "While we have had our problems, we want to assure our customers and subscribers that we are looking forward to a successful season, artistically and financially."

Referring to the financial straits that so many nonprofit arts organizations find themselves in, McCurdy said, "We've just got to be persistent. We have a revitalized board, and we've just this week started working with Jean Ager," a development consultant who, McCurdy reports, has acted as a consultant to half a dozen or more Spokane nonprofits.

The rumor had been that a bank had denied Interplayers' request for a loan using the theater's equity as collateral.

While not exactly denying that interpretation, McCurdy did say that "We are fortunate to own our own building and to have equity in it." She then reminded Bobo and others that there's a sign on the north side of the theater advertising its availability as a rental location for meetings, recitals and rehearsals -- the Bob and Joan Welch Auditorium, the Gellhorn Gallery, even the downstairs rehearsal area.

This _is_ Interplayers' silver anniversary season, after all. That's 25 years of building affection for the Howard Street theater among local theatergoers -- and a lot of people who would be willing to go to bat for a beloved local institution. McCurdy acknowledges that "we have had cash flow gaps, but we have put them behind us" -- and she's quick to remind folks that they are still selling season subscriptions. Interplayers is also entertaining offers of of corporate sponsorships of particular productions. (A ballpark figure for those runs in the $5,000 range, though, as McCurdy notes, "we have to be flexible.")

All of which, you might say, just amounts to another Local Arts Nonprofit Sings the Got-No-Money Blues. Just the same old same old crying wolf, you think?
But pause for a moment to think of the dangers of simply assuming that oh, somebody will take care of them. Arts orgs are always bemoaning a lack of funds. And short of a rujuvenated NEA and federally subsidized arts, it will always be thus.
But decisions are made by the people who show up. And it helps to show up -- at the turnstiles and when the arts hold out their hats.


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