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Pro-Art cancels spring programs due to funding woes

February 17th, 2007 11:24 pm by Staff report



With the possible exception of four events set at the University of Virginia's College at Wise and Mountain Empire Community College, remaining productions sponsored by the Pro-Art Association for the 2006-07 season have been canceled due to financial constraints.


Programs scheduled for Lee County but now canceled include Nii Tettey Tetteh and the Kusun Ensemble on Tuesday, Some Enchanted Evening on April 17, and Urban Cowboy on May 7.


In a news release issued by the association, Glenn Blackburn, a member of the Pro-Art board of trustees and executive committee, explained the reason for the cancellation.


"For the last three years, there has been a growing gap between our expenses and our income, and it has become apparent that we must cancel most of this spring's schedule so that we can re-stabilize Pro-Art and prepare for the 2007-2008 season," he said. "The underlying reason for our financial problems is that Pro-Art has been too ambitious. We have scheduled too many expensive programs, and our income has not kept up with our expenses."


Pro-Art Executive Director Bonnie Elosser, who started her job on Jan. 3, said the organization owes UVa-Wise about $130,000 and owes a local bank about $80,000. Pro-Art's annual budget is only about $375,000, she added.


Blackburn emphasized that steps are being taken to assist with the financial difficulties of Pro-Art.


"We are trying to procure funds, both to pay off debts and finance arts programs for next year. We also wish to emphasize that both the University of Virginia's College at Wise and Mountain Empire Community College are being very supportive to our efforts to deal with our financial problems."


According to the news release, season ticket holders will not be offered any form of reimbursement for the canceled performances.


Blackburn said the four events at MECC and UVa-Wise could still possibly take place if the colleges agree to fund them.


Those events are Equestrian Excellence: The Art of George Stubbs, a Feb. 26 lecture at UVa-Wise; An American Nocturne: Steam Locomotive Photographs of O. Winston Link, a lecture at UVa-Wise; Rebecca Kite, marimba music on April 12 at MECC; and Lynne Mackey in Classic Traditions on April 28 at MECC.


For more information contact Pro-Art at (276)376-4520.


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