Mayor Jim Brainard today issued a statement on the audit and internal review released yesterday by the Center for the Performing Arts. The entire statement is presented below:
“As is often the case when media are involved in reporting on a story of intense local interest, the media focuses on the sensational. In this instance, there have been many news reports regarding Steven Libman and his resignation from the Center for the Performing Arts, some of which have cast a negative light on Mr. Libman and obscured or altogether ignored his pivotal role in helping to develop one of the finest performing arts centers in the country. These reports have taken many of my comments concerning Mr. Libman out of context and also disregarded the many positive things I had to say about Mr. Libman. For example, the recently-completed audit of the Center’s operations was a regular, annual audit that Mr. Libman initiated while still with the Center, not a special audit of any kind. To the extent that there are rumors or reports saying something different, they are not accurate.
It is appropriate to formally recognize the complexity of the job that Mr. Libman was asked to perform, as well as the competence with which he performed.
When Mr. Libman accepted our offer to become the inaugural Executive Director of the Center, there was very little time to recruit personnel, program the season, develop a marketing and branding plan, oversee the completion of the new hall, and orchestrate a gala, all prior to the scheduled opening date. Mr. Libman hit the ground running and strategically assembled an excellent, competent staff of professionals, worked with the architects, acousticians and City officials, and collaborated with Artistic Director, Michael Feinstein, to develop outstanding programming for both the first and second seasons.
Mr. Libman excelled in marketing the Center, and serving as a spokesperson, both in the local community and amongst his peers nationally. His efforts were instrumental in positively communicating the Center’s mission and strengths as well as the excitement associated with opening a new venue, resulting in several large donations and pledges to the Center. At the time, there was considerable angst on the part of many in the Indianapolis arts community that our venue would financially hurt existing venues and arts organizations. Mr. Libman quickly assuaged those fears and was successfully able to collaborate with the leaders of those other arts organizations.
It is one thing to successfully operate an existing organization but a task of much greater magnitude to build an organization from nothing into a respected and nationally renowned venue within slightly over two years. Mr. Libman worked relentlessly at that task, and as a direct result, the Center enjoyed a successful inaugural season and the foundation was laid for future success. Few arts leaders could have accomplished the impressive results that he achieved, and for that we are grateful. I thank Steven Libman for his hard work.”
– James Brainard