Marion Palace Theatre

The Arts Benefit Our Community – August 2017

The Arts Benefit Our Community – August 2017

I had the honor of addressing some of our members at the annual membership meeting on July 25. I thought a few of you might enjoy an update on how the 2016-17 season turned out, too.

2016-17 opened with Crazy for You and closed with country artist Phil Vassar. Sandwiched between those performances, we had 216 separate events resulting in 405 performances, which translate to 339 days of operations for the Palace. This includes everything from rehearsals, tours, films, rental events of all shapes and sizes, concerts, local productions and more.

In the end, more than 2,500 additional people used the Palace than in the previous year, with just over 61,000 guests coming through the doors in the 16-17 season.

All of these activities were made possible and supported by:

1131 membership contributors
22 foundations and funders providing grant dollars
30 corporate or individual show sponsors
13,244 Palace event ticket buyers
7,783 volunteer hours (up 1,433 hours over last season)
16 volunteer board members and
16 paid staff members

I am grateful for the broad levels of support the Palace has experienced in the past year and for each of you who played a role in our success.

A few standout moments from the 16-17 season include:

A big surprise – DOGS! Who knew over 1,100 people wanted to see dogs on the Palace stage?

A big success – Christmas at the Palace has become a highly anticipated and much loved tradition supported by this community

A big disappointment – Low audience turnout to see Phil Vassar close out the season

A proud moment – Working together with the community at large to stir pride in Marion through the MarionMade campaign and Celebrate Marion Gala

Why work so hard? The arts are a powerful tool in Marion’s toolbox.

In addition to touching and influencing lives, Palace activities act as an economic engine that bring over 61,000 people into our downtown annually, with 44% of Palace Patrons residing outside our zip code. That means eating in our restaurants, fueling up in our filling stations, shopping in Marion’s stores and sleeping in our hotels.

Every day, more than 100,000 nonprofit arts and culture organizations act as economic drivers – creating an industry that supports jobs, generates government revenue, and is essential to the tourism industry. The Nonprofit arts and culture industry, and their audiences, play a lead role in strengthening our nation’s economy. And here in Marion, the Palace Theatre does the same.

According to the Americans for the Arts Economic Impact Calculator, in communities the size of Marion, every person who attends an event at the Palace is spending on average $22.50 in addition to the price of their ticket. This includes things like babysitting expenses, meals out, lodging, transportation, concessions, a drink at the bar, etc.

Let me do that math for you – that means the 61,000 people who attend Palace events annually are spending nearly $1.4 million dollars in our community in addition to the monies they’re spending on tickets. The arts are more than entertainment. They impact the economy.

The other business of the arts is their influence on the individual lives they touch. Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews’ daughter and the creator of Julie’s Greenroom, a Netflix children’s series about the arts, said this, “There is no better way for kids to learn critical thinking and problem-solving and communication skills and empathy and tolerance and all the skills we need on a daily basis than through the arts.”

These are just a few of the attributes poured into the lives of those who participate in the performance arts at the Palace.

In addition, Jonathan Herman, Executive Director of the National Guild for community Arts Education said, “In study after study after study, an arts education has proven to be a substantial contributor to increased learning across the curriculum and to students’ emotional well-being.”

This translates to potentially reducing poverty and crime, in short, changing lives, which has a ripple effect on us all. Those who learn to create are far less likely to destroy.

At the Palace our work is to make the business of the arts a benefit to our community’s people and to our community’s economy.

Thanks to each of you for your support of the Palace!