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Carolina Performing Arts increased funding threefold in preparation for two new spaces

According to Susin Seow, CPA’s director of development, CPA has raised $3.27 million in gifts so far in its fiscal year. At this time in 2015, Seow said they received $755,000 in donations.

This increase in CPA donations was a targeted effort, Seow said: The arts organization needs more money to accommodate large-scale construction projects.

Hill Hall is undergoing renovation, and eventually we’re going to be doing programming there,” she said. “And then in addition to Hill Hall, we’re going to be opening The Core — the space that used to be University Square.”

According to the UNC Division of Finance and Administration, the Hill Hall renovation is budgeted at about $19.7 million dollars.

Sid Stone, director of the Department of Construction Management, said that there is no average cost for the projects they develop because each project varies in size and length.

“Projects like this can go from under $500,000 to tens of millions of dollars,” he said. “Some of the money probably comes from the University, some from donations, some from elsewhere.”

In the March 23 Board of Trustees meeting, David Routh, vice chancellor for university development, said that University donations are up across the board with donations to the athletics department increasing 47 percent. Donations for CPA increased 334 percent.

In addition to the increased donations, CPA has also received significant funding from both the University and from foundations like the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“In addition to recognizing that we’re opening two brand new spaces, Chancellor (Carol) Folt announced a commitment of $4 million to the arts at CPA at The Core,” Seow said. “We have leadership at the chancellor’s level, and we have board members who are showing their leadership by making generous commitments to CPA now that we’re in the quiet phase of the campaign.”

Amy Russell, director of programming at CPA, said that the increased funding will not impact the amount or the quality of performances held by CPA, but will instead allow performances to be held in more locations and be more accessible to students.

“It will really allow us to explore some new genres and artistic disciplines that we haven’t explored at all or haven’t dived into in ways that we’ve wanted to in the past,” she said. “We’re focusing on experiences that feel participatory in different ways.”

Seow said that these new participatory spaces will allow students to experience performances in ways that before weren’t possible.

“What many people may not know — because at Carolina we don’t toot our own horn — is that we are really one of the country’s leading performing arts presenters, and what’s also unique about us is that students are consistently representing a third of our audience,” she said.

“The other thing that is unique about CPA, too, and why people want to submit private gifts at this time, is that we’re not just bringing people to Memorial Hall, but we’re really trying to take the arts outside to the campus classroom.”


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