Kauffman Center CEO remains bullish on venue’s future

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a budget crunch for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, which already has canceled 85 shows this season, according to a report by The Kansas City Business Journal.

The Kauffman Center typically hosts more than 300 events annually, CEO Paul Schofer told the newspaper via email. “Knowing that the arts are such a powerful tool to help people unite and heal, it is terribly disappointing that our stages are not available for this purpose in a time where they are desperately needed,” he said.

The nonprofit performance arts organization launched an email donation campaign, which said it lost more than $1 million in revenue from the cancellations.

“This is really difficult. While we’ve trimmed our expenses as much as possible, we still need a financial boost to prepare for your return,” the email to patrons and donors said. “Your gift will help us weather this unwanted intermission.”

The Kauffman Center isn’t alone in its struggles. The pandemic’s estimated economic impact on the U.S. arts and cultural sector is $8.4 billion, according to research and advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. Total financial losses to date have eclipsed $1.1 billion, and organizations have lost out on more than 88 million attendees.

The next event on Kauffman Center’s schedule is The Beach Boys concert on Aug. 3. Schofer told The Business Journal the organization is working with the band’s management to decide the “appropriate course of action.”

Three companies perform at the venue: Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Symphony. All three are continuing to discuss reopening plans and logistics.

Despite the financial challenges, Schofer remains bullish on the center’s future.

“As an iconic, architectural masterpiece that has become a landmark on the Kansas City skyline and that our community takes tremendous pride and ownership in, I truly believe the Kauffman Center will come out of this pandemic with as much community support and passion for the performing arts as we have ever had in our history,” he said.

Click here to read the complete story in The Business Journal.

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