Some information from today's meeting of the executive and finance meetings of the Arkansas Arts Center's board of directors: The Arts Center has narrowed its candidates for its director of development position and hopes to have someone in place soon, members of the board of directors said today. This is a crucial position for the Arts Center (for any arts center): In July, the first month of the Arts Center's fiscal year, development revenue was running more than $150,000 under budget. Things are not as bad as that number would suggest, Arts Center's finance person Laine Harber said; some of the grants and donations that were expected in July are late, including board of director pledges of about $66,000.
A strong finish to "The Impressionists and Their Influence," a ticketed show, and a tight rein on the budget reduced last fiscal year's losses to $51,000, a big improvement over fiscal year 09-10's loss of $2 million, finance committee chair Mary Ellen Vangilder pointed out.
Director Todd Herman has been busy identifying his priorities for fall, including incorporating more of the permanent collection into the exhibitions; filling chief curatorial positions; seeing where the facility needs upgrades (including art storage, which he said is almost dangerously lacking in space); improving public awareness with signage, a more dynamic website and by capitalizing on attention being drawn to Arkansas by the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in November; and doing an economic impact study with The Rep, Symphony and the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau. Herman has hit the ground running.