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CTG gift for increasing attendance

October 15, 2008|Mike Boehm

Center Theatre Group, parent of the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre and Kirk Douglas Theatre, will receive as much as $1.1 million from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Nonprofit Finance Fund to serve as a very large guinea pig for the performing arts.

CTG and nine other groups are the focuses of a $15.1-million, five-year experiment, announced Tuesday, aimed at discovering a cure for the economic uncertainty and declining attendance plaguing many nonprofit theater and dance organizations.

The hope is that the 10 performance companies and festivals -- six based in New York City -- will develop better business tactics that can be copied by others. CTG, whose annual budgets of $40 million or more make it by far the largest organization involved, will develop new subscription models and seek new ways of reaching young audiences.

Arts donors have come to expect "carefully predicted outcomes" in exchange for their largesse, said Clara Miller, president of the Nonprofit Finance Fund. The new initiative will back "true experimentation and change." Amounts will be determined as the experiment goes along, with a ceiling of $1.1 million for each of the pilot groups.

-- Mike Boehm

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