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Arts & Science Council cuts funding for Opera Carolina

June 18, 2009

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    June 18, 2009
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    Opera Carolina News

Arts & Science Council cuts funding for Opera Carolina

Opera Carolina says the Arts & Science Council will reduce its support for the organization by 33 percent, or $245,000, during the 2009-10 season.

In addition, the opera company says it expects a significant reduction in funding from the N.C. Arts Council after the state budget is approved in July.

James Meena, the organization's general director and principal conductor, says his staff and the opera company's board of directors have been assessing its marketing, fund-raising and programming operations this past year and are prepared to adapt as needed.

"No idea is off the table at this point," he says. "The board and staff will explore all options over the summer as we remain focused on delivering the exceptional cultural experience our community deserves."

Last month, the ASC said it was sharply reducing its financial support of the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra.

The council has allocated $900,000 for the orchestra for its next fiscal year, down from $1.9 million this year. The fiscal year starts July 1.

The ASC has agreed to give the orchestra $75,000 in July and August, but future payments will hinge on a satisfactory review by the council regarding the orchestra's economic viability.

The cuts in funding come at a time when the ASC is struggling.

In March, the ASC laid off eight employees, almost a third of its staff. The job cuts followed an annual fund drive that raised $7 million, 37 percent below an $11.2 million goal. The shortfall has meant generally smaller grants for arts groups that use ASC funding to help finance their organizations.

Opera Carolina, founded in 1948, is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas. It has an operating annual budget of more than $3.5 million.

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