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Q and A with Kristin Hills Bradberry

by Jennifer Garner

March 6,2007

What are the various components of the Uptown arts package? What is your goal?

The Arts & Science Council is convening this campaign and we are excited about this unique public/private partnership. Our goal is $83 million, which includes facility endowments for the renovations of Discovery Place, the new Bechtler Art Museum, the new Knight Theater (1200 seats), the new Center City Mint Museum and the new Afro American Cultural Center. Also included is the final funding for the new rehearsal space for NC Dance Theatre and some operating and endowed funds for the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra. We also have a Contingency Fund, which will give us a safety net for ensuring that our endowment is capable of generating the kind of revenue needed when the facilities open (a mechanism for managing risk as it relates to market assumptions and pledge payment scheduling in our financial model).

You have commitments from the banks and some wealthy individuals. What are your next steps? How do you get beyond the usual suspects?

We have incredible commitments from Bank of America, Wachovia, Duke Energy, the C. D. Spangler Foundation, the James L. and John S. Knight Foundation, individuals on the ASC Board and staff who have committed $1.3 million, and other members of our campaign leadership who have given and brought in additional individual and corporate gifts. With over $53 million in commitments, we are continuing conversations with individuals who are passionate about the cultural community, individuals who live and work near the new cultural campus and both individuals and corporate donors who recognize how valuable this project is to the region.

What challenges do you see to raising this money?

This is a generous community and there are many opportunities to give to important efforts - whether it's your alma mater, your place of worship, your children's school, Crisis Assistance Ministries, etc. One challenge will be educating people that these campaign gifts need to be above their normal ASC annual support and the individual arts organizations that they support annually. I am also very excited by the great leadership we have in Ken Lewis, Ken Thompson and Jim Rogers.

Are you worried about the resistance to moving the Mint Museums? 

No. The supporters of that museum are passionate and care about preserving the unique design of that space. I am confident those who are working on the design of the new museum will provide a distinct and wonderful home for MMCD.

What impact do you think this arts district will have on Uptown? What about the arts organizations who were not included in this package?

The impact of these projects on our region will be dramatic – over the last 30 years, the majority of investments in cultural facilities has been on the north part of Tryon street, so this new campus balances that out and gives us a mile – from McColl Center of Visual Arts to the new Afro American Cultural Center on Stonewall/Tryon – of cultural activity. For people who live and work here, it will be exciting. It gives our tourists wonderful, convenient opportunities to experience our cultural offerings. For companies considering bringing new employees here, it gives them an ability to show those who are moving from other communities with strong cultural programs that we have a great deal to offer. As to which organizations were or were not included, the 100 member blue ribbon committee of the 2004 Cultural Facilities Master Plan helped set the priorities.

What are your thoughts about moving from higher education fundraising to the arts scene?

It is incredibly satisfying to work on something that is important to the community in which I live. Raising funds for a college puts your attention on your alumni nationwide. With this arts project, it’s been fun and meaningful to get to know more people in my own community. I am excited about the multi-layered partnerships. The city, corporations and seven individual arts organizations are involved in this project and I have enjoyed working with those diverse groups, boards and leadership.

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