The $35 million renovation of the McAninch Arts Center began in October 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in March of 2014. Imbedded in the $35 million is the creation of the new Cleve Carney Art Space. In addition to the MAC renovation, the College has taken delivery of the new amphitheatre adjacent to the MAC where performances can be enjoyed under the skies similar to Ravinia. In addition, Waterleaf restaurant is close by so patrons can enjoy wonderful cuisine when attending performances or viewing exhibits.
During the 18-month renovation, alternative venues for New Philharmonic concerts that met the orchestra's needs and budget were booked in hopes that the audience would follow. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
This year, there has been a 50-percent drop in concert attendance. When combining the drop in attendance with the already underperforming financial condition of the New Philharmonic, the college reluctantly cancelled the remaining concerts of the 2012-13 season and put the orchestra on hiatus for the 2013-14 season along with all other arts offerings at the MAC.
The College's plan has been to take this renovation period to solicit input and support from patrons and to study how best to operate the MAC going forward.
Given that the funding from the state to the college has dropped to a historical low of 4 percent of its operating budget, far below the original intended funding level of 33 percent, it is more critical than ever that the college make sound fiscal decisions.
"Recently, when asked if they would be willing to provide financial support to ensure that New Philharmonic performs in 2013-14 and remains a resident ensemble in good standing at the MAC for future seasons, patrons answered with a resounding yes," said College of DuPage President Dr. Robert L. Breuder. "Therefore, we have asked Maestro Kirk Muspratt to plan an abbreviated 2013-14 season."
MAC staff along with a committee of friends of the New Philharmonic will be sending patrons a straightforward pledge card. The College will ask the Friends of New Philharmonic to make a three-season pledge that will guarantee New Philharmonic a home through 2016. The annual goal is $150,000.
"Providing cultural experiences to the community is very important to the College," Dr. Breuder said. "In 2014, we will unveil a new McAninch Arts Center that will take your breath away. We will have spent more per square foot than on any other building on this campus, which further reflects our longstanding commitment to the arts. We very much want the New Philharmonic to call us home. To do so in this economy, it will have to function in a more cost effective manner. We hope we can count on patrons of the New Philharmonic to show their support to make this a reality."
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