Column: Center says thanks for a great year

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The 2018-19 performance season is kicking into high gear at the Center for the Performing Arts, but before we get too far along, I want to thank the entire community for all the support that made this past season so successful.

The Center takes seriously its role as an economic catalyst for the City of Carmel and a gathering place for the central Indiana community. It is wonderful to see, after just a few years of operation, how local residents, organizations and businesses have embraced the Center as their own.

During the course of the 2017-18 season at our three venues, 106,450 patrons attended performances presented by the Center, its six resident companies and other arts groups. Those events included 88 Civic Theatre performances; 83 Actors Theatre of Indiana performances; seven Carmel Symphony Orchestra performances; and 16 performances by the Indiana Wind Symphony, Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre and Central Indiana Dance Ensemble. Outside organizations rented our facilities for 37 more performances.

Our own Center Presents series of 47 performances included 14 sellouts at the Palladium, with average paid attendance increasing 40 percent from the previous year to 920 per event. Subscription sales rose by 23 percent, and first-time visitors accounted for a whopping 37 percent of our ticket sales.

Another key segment of our work in the community is providing education and enrichment opportunities for people of all ages. Last season, those efforts included scores of adult classes in dance, ukulele, speech, standup comedy and vocal performance; nearly 30 interactive music sessions for toddlers and preschoolers; three performing arts day camps; and seven school field trips in which hundreds of students visited the Palladium to explore principles of physics with the Center’s lighting and audio professionals. More than 3,000 students and music lovers visited the Great American Songbook Foundation Exhibit Gallery at the Palladium, and the Songbook Foundation conducted 45 of its Perfect Harmony music sessions for older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Beyond the performing arts, the Center also rented space for 39 corporate events, nine weddings and/or receptions, three school commencement ceremonies, five city events and much more.

Indeed, the Center for the Performing Arts is fulfilling the vision of local leaders who placed the arts at the core of their strategy for building a vibrant community, repeatedly ranked as one of the best places to live in America.

Again, none of this success would be possible without our patrons, donors, sponsors and other community partners who understand and appreciate the Center’s mission. Thank you, and please join us again this season for another round of inspiring and engaging events.

Jeffrey C. McDermott, the president/CEO of the Center for the Performing Arts and the Great American Songbook Foundation, is an occasional columnist. He can be reached as JMcDermott@TheCenterPresents.org.

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