Diana Wortham Theatre announces possible funding cut, asks for public support

Press release:

Urgent Call To Action: County Funding for Diana Wortham Theatre to Be Cut in Half

Your voice is needed to be heard by the Buncombe County Commissioners.

Your support of Diana Wortham Theatre is what keeps us going. We are writing to ask your help in persuading the Buncombe County Commission to maintain its support of the theatre and not reduce it, as planned in tomorrow’s discussion of the proposed FY18 Community Funding Requests.

We have just learned that our request for funding to the Buncombe County Commissioners to support the operations of the building has been reduced from $350,000 to $175,000. This is HALF of what we currently receive.

It is important that the County commissioners hear from as many people as possible encouraging their support for the Pack Square Cultural Partnership (the name under which our proposal is submitted).

They need to hear from patrons and citizens who appreciate the theatre and what it does for the community. They need to hear from county taxpayers who believe this is an appropriate use of county funds.

County funding supports general operating costs of the building. While the building is currently under construction, the Diana Wortham Theatre is in continuous operation and operating costs have NOT been reduced. These costs include utilities, maintenance, janitorial, service contracts, repairs, and more, and are ongoing.

Diana Wortham Theatre serves more than 30 regional groups each year. These local groups will be impacted with raised costs to use the theatre.

Reduction of our operating costs would mean dramatically increasing the costs for school children to attend educational programs. It will also mean that ticket prices would have to rise for Mainstage shows.

The County is scheduled to adopt the FY18 budget TOMORROW evening, June 20, at 5:00 p.m., in Room 326 at 200 College Street in downtown Asheville. The public is invited and encouraged to attend; there will be opportunity to address the Commission directly.

Please contact the County Commissioners today and encourage them to restore funding for next year at $350,000 for the Pack Square Cultural Partnership.

Emails for Buncombe County Commissioners:
Brownie Newman (Commission Chair): brownie.newman@buncombecounty.org
Jasmine Beach-Ferrara (District 1): jasmine.beach-ferrara@buncombecounty.org
Al Whitesides (District 1): Alfred.Whitesides@buncombecounty.org
Mike Fryar (District 2): mike.fryar@buncombecounty.org
Ellen Frost (District 2): ellen.frost@buncombecounty.org
Joe Belcher (District 3): joe.belcher@buncombecounty.org
Robert Pressley (District 3): robert.pressley@buncombecounty.org

Of course, if you know a Commissioner personally, please contact them via telephone or however you like.

If you live in Buncombe County, let them know that, as a county taxpayer, you believe this is an appropriate use of county tax dollars. Let them know why you support the theatre.

Please do not leave this to others to do. The Commissioners need to know the theatre has a very broad base of support from throughout the county and region.

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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