Two arts and entertainment businesses in our community have announced they’ll soon be making changes on a large scale. While one, the Majestic Theatre, has announced major operational changes, the other, an art supply store and gallery, will be closing its doors for good next January.
Majestic Theatre supervisor and Corvallis Parks & Recreation representative Jimbo Ivy has explained in great detail both the changes that will occur for the theater and the events that rendered such modifications necessary in the first place, starting with a deficit of over $175,000 that directly resulted from their 2015-’16 expenses substantially exceeding revenue. A lack of adequate preparation time for shows, an overwhelmed pool of volunteers, increased hourly staff pay, declining community donations, and long-deferred maintenance are reasons given for the shortfall, which prompted Ivy to reboot theater operations.
Changes to be implemented include replacing skilled staff with volunteers, lowering or eliminating technical support from staff previously provided to volunteers, limiting paid support for productions, lowering budgets for printing and advertising, and introducing a new volunteer recruiting and management system. Additionally, a reduction of revenue projections for attendance at most shows from 75% to 60% is being put in place.
Ivy justifies any possible negative consequences of the proposed changes by comparing the business model of the “new” Majestic to that of the Albany Civic Theater and the “millions of community theaters across the world” where similar downgrades have not threatened quality performance art.
Without a new, more fiscally conservative game plan, says Ivy, the Majestic could become unsustainable. However, he does not believe that the theater is in any major trouble.
“I don’t believe that,” Ivy said. “This message isn’t a warning or harbinger of troubled times, it’s a call for action to a community that has an astounding history of supporting this theater. I believe that we can do this. After all, we are Majestic.”
Ivy also offered up a link to the Majestic’s new online volunteer portal, Volgistics, at www.majestic.org/volunteer.
A few blocks away, the former staff and customers of Studio262’s art gallery and art supply store won’t be as lucky, as the business will close in mid-January. Studio262 owner Jennifer Lommers cites her choice to close up shop as a result of both personal and revenue issues, and plans to use the change to spend more time working on her art and with her family. As 262 grew and expanded from a simple studio to a store within a gallery, the amount of work required to keep up the business eventually became, according to Lommers, overwhelming.
Two final events will be held at Studio262 before it closes for good. A community tribute to Frida Kahlo called From Frida with Love will run from Oct. 18 to Oct. 31, and a Holiday Art Sale show featuring several local artists will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 30. More information about these exhibitions can be found at www.corvallisartswalks.com. There will also be a sale with some items up to 75% off, which may turn a big loss into a few wins for local artists.
By Kiki Genoa