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Coming Sunday in the CHN: ArtsCenter back in black, ousts concerts director

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We have two stories in Sunday's edition that ArtsCenter fans will want to read.

First, the Carrboro nonprofit has reversed years of operating deficits, ending last fiscal year in the black. The $142,000 surplus ended a red tide that saw operating losses of $53,000 in 2010-11, $265,000 in 2009-10 and $142,000, in 2008-09, according to reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

Best known for its arts classes – 527 last year – and intimate theater, the ArtsCenter fell on hard times as the recession squeezed nonprofits and membership dwindled from 1,200-plus in the 1990s to below 170. By the close of the fiscal year in June 2011, the organization had total debt of $612,000, according to that year’s report to the IRS.

In 2009-10, the organization took out a $315,000 loan against its East Main Street building. The move and other measures helped begin turning the corner, and by the time he came on board last spring new director Art Menius predicted an operating surplus of over $100,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

But in a move that may surprise some, Menius recently let longtime concerts director Tess Mangum Ocana go. She says she had no inkling; she was asked to come into a room and 10 minutes later was out of a job she had held for a decade.

Not so, says Menius. He credits her with bringing in some of the best shows the ArtsCenter has had, but says he repeatedly told her she was not bringing in enough money. Her department, he says, had the biggest losses.   

Read the annual report at the link below:

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About the blogger

Mark Schultz is the editor of The Chapel Hill News and The Durham News.