Orlando should be furious if local arts groups get priced out of new concert hall at DPAC

This afternoon, the Orlando Sentinel and WFTV reported that there is a possibility that local performing arts groups could be priced out of using the new Steinmetz Hall at the Downtown Performing Arts Center (stories HERE and HERE).

Let’s reflect on that. The performing arts center which was built with your community’s money won’t let your community’s philharmonic, ballet, and opera perform there if they don’t produce a dollar amount that will inflate their ticket prices on the back end, hurting them in the process.

Then why did we build the thing?

This is like building Amway Center and not letting the Magic play there.

I was at the county commission and city council meetings when DPAC was trying to get off the ground. The calls for funding were constant from their people. Now they’ve still got their hands out asking for more money from these organizations. It’s just not fair.

We must take a moment and appreciate DPAC. It’s a beautiful building, and the donor efforts to make it happen were impressive, but the idea of shutting out local groups is just plain wrong. That’s not how these donors would want their money spent.

The response from City Hall was unimpressive. Basically, they’re not getting involved. Yet, when they’re hosting an event at DPAC, they just can’t brag enough about how it’s forwarding arts in the community.

More like forwarding arts from outside of our community. Groups come in, take our money, perform, and leave, taking our investment with them. Nothing stays behind.

And then must take a moment to think about the arts climate in Orlando. It’s tough enough for many of these organizations to find funding to even operate, and in schools these programs are the first to go when the times get tough.

If I’m an inspiring artist, why should I invest time in mastering my craft if the community I’m trying to provide it for is just going to slam the door in my face?

Let’s be responsible and take a step back for a moment. There is time for all parties involved to work this out. Let’s hope so.

If not, then we should be furious at the facility that we as a community worked to get built, only to have them shut our neighbors out.

Let’s keep an eye on this.

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