When The Solution Is A Problem

Wow, it’s hard to see a good outcome to the city’s predicament with the failing Overture  Center of the Arts.  The bail-out plan is mightily attractive, and it’s being pushed by a lot of sincere  (and influential) people. The problem is that its adoption will come at the expense of  more innovative thinking on managing Dane County’s regional facilities in the 21st century.

I explain what’s at stake in a recent column for Isthmus. It begins:

When pianist Olga Kern began playing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s season opener a few Fridays ago, the first gentle notes hung in the air. I could hear the faint hum of the piano wires vibrating from her pedal work.

What marvelous acoustics Overture Hall has! What a gorgeous place to hear the symphony and the Madison Opera. And what a horrible situation the Overture Center for the Arts finds itself in.

A week earlier, cold to the issue, I parachuted into the last meeting of the Overture Ad Hoc Committee. I heard the rumbling unease in which the committee recommended that the city buy the arts complex for $1 from its private nonprofit owner.

So many unanswered questions, so much uncertainty, and the city is supposed to wrap up this deal before Jan. 1?

Holy cow! I turned to a veteran city official and (with apologies to Jon Stewart) told him: “This is the clusterf#@k of the arts.”

You can read more here.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Development, Music, TheDailyPage.com/Isthmus

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One Comment on “When The Solution Is A Problem”

  1. George Hesselberg Says:

    This is a very good, practical suggestion: “Note that the city of Milwaukee sold the Pabst to Cudahy’s foundation for $1 in 2002. But unlike Overture, the Pabst’s nonprofit operators have wildly succeeded. My advice: Jerry and Pleasant should take Mike to dinner at Karl Ratzsch’s and pick his brain for ideas.”


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