Robert McAllister, chief executive officer of PeakArts, decided to do something about it.He
made a personal plea to the audience of a Philharmonic concert, resulting in a story the next day in the Boulder Daily Camera. He
also wrote an impassioned plea to area residents in the Jan. 25-Feb. 7 issue of The Boulder County Business Report.
"Any non-profit needs public support," he
said."We didn't receive that support, so we needed to make a public appeal that non-profits exist only with the support of the community."The community responded with $351,000 in 25 days.
"All but $16,000 was individual contributions.We're happy regarding the large support of the Boulder community.It shows PeakArts is a vital non-profit."Of the total, $16,000 was from a foundation.
...McAllister, CEO since June 2001, takes non-profit stewardship seriously.His previous employment involved resurrecting the finances of the Cleveland Music School Settlement, where he served as executive director.
"Our job is to be fiscally responsible," he
said."We are committed to keeping a balanced budget."Weeding out unnecessary expenses is one way to do that.
Although downsizing plans had been made in advance of the terrorist attacks, PeakArts cut back staff expenses, eliminated eight programs, six of which were under the now-defunct Sinfonia, and trimmed the budget in other ways shortly following Sept. 11.
"Those programs had not been financially viable from the previous year," McAllister
whittled the $2.9 million budget down to $2.6 million for the 2002-2003 season.
"My motto is ‘run a non-profit like a business, with a mission centered in the arts,'" McAllister
11 did very little as far as attendance," McAllister
said."Seventy-five percent of the house sold is our average, and the last four concerts were sold out."Tickets range from $10 to $60 for most performances.
The biggest bite out of PeakArts' budget was lack of donations.
11 profoundly impacted donations," McAllister
said."A number of donations were going to relief, so we had less funding from individuals."
is raising awareness of PeakArts
through more community outreach. "We're working with the Boulder Valley School District to offer discounted tickets to students in Boulder Valley," he said.
The educational arm of PeakArts
, PeakArts Academy
, also keeps the community in touch.McAllister
believes that the key to PeakArts'
continued viability is "linking with the community through the schools and assisting the community by providing quality instruction."PeakArts Academy
in Boulder provides instruction in dance and music for hundreds of students of all ages.Private lessons cost about $17-30 per half-hour.
Its association with the performing arts branches, the Boulder Ballet and Boulder Philharmonic Orchestra, is rare, according to McAllister
"Linking the performing organizations with the educational arm is very unique throughout the country," he
said."It's not the way most people do it."McAllister is on the board of the National Guild
of Community Schools of the Arts
, and PeakArts Academy
is a member of that organization.
McAllister's background in education and in performing arts gives him "a fundamental understanding of the arts," he
said."I know how arts affect people.In most places, the arts truly do not connect to the community.That's a problem.
"We have a commitment to delivering arts programming and instruction and to provide a model for others to replicate nationally," he
said."There's equal support of the academy and the performing arts.