State workers aren't the only ones taking enforced furlough days. Hartford's TheaterWorks' staff is going on unpaid leave for the first two weeks in August.
In an e-mail sent out Wednesday, TheaterWorks artistic and executive director Steve Campo began: "TheaterWorks is closing."
He knows how to grab attention. It's a temporary closing, he explains. Then he makes a pitch for the upcoming season and a donation (tax-deductible, of course). He expects to send a longer letter to his subscribers in early August.
It's not the first time he's reached out to close a gap in funding. In November 2007, Campo sent out a "Bad News and Good News" message about the theater's $100,000 shortfall for the season that ended Aug. 31 of that year. He said single-ticket sales, high production costs and larger energy bills contributed to the gap.
It worked. By the end of January 2008, the $100,000 shortfall was erased and TheaterWorks had $50,000 in reserve.
"Our current fiscal year ends Aug. 31 and I know we'll have a deficit," says Campo, who has led the theater for 24 years. "And next season is unknown. So we're doing all we can to cut costs."
And while he's looking closely at his own red ink, he's reaching out to help the two-week $5 campaign that ends July 24 by the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
"We're asking people to send us $5," says Kate Bolduc, who's been running the group for three months since Kenneth Kahn left.
The council is looking for $100,000, and, as of Thursday, raised $30,000 from the $5 initiative. Its United Arts Campaign for the year that ended June 31 was targeted at $4.3 million, down from $4.4 million in 2008. They raised $3.9 million.
"We figured another $100,000 would allow us to fund all our grants," Bolduc says. "Obviously everyone will have to take a cut."
Next week, Campo is offering $11 single seats to the current show, "Speech & Debate." He says $5 of that will go to Bolduc's group. Other local arts groups, such as Real Art Ways, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and Hartford Stage, have been publicizing the $5 campaign. On Thursday night, local artist Anne Cubberly held a $5 dance event at her studio on Church Street.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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