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City, school district seek coordinator for PAC

The new Arlington Performing Arts Center opens with a gala celebration May 31 to June 3 and the city and the school district are now jointly seeking proposals from promotions coordinators to book and market the theater starting May 1. -
The new Arlington Performing Arts Center opens with a gala celebration May 31 to June 3 and the city and the school district are now jointly seeking proposals from promotions coordinators to book and market the theater starting May 1.
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ARLINGTON Since the new Performing Arts Center at Arlington High School is intended to be community facility, the city of Arlington is working with the Arlington School District to hire a booking agent or a marketing firm to manage scheduling and promoting of the new A-PAC.
This is not just a school facility, said ASD Superintendent Linda Byrnes at the periodic joint meeting of the Arlington School Board of Directors and the Arlington City Council Monday, Jan. 29. Theater operations were the single item on the agenda.
City Council and the school board meet on the fifth Monday of the month.
The City Council and the School Board discussed a strategy for getting the theater up and running as soon as possible when construction is complete by May 1.
A grand-opening gala is being planned for May 31 to June 3.
We will have to work together to make [the theater] a true asset to the community, Byrnes said.
This is not a done deal, until you agree, Byrnes told the officials.
Byrnes presented to the two groups a management structure, with the operations of A-PAC to be supervised by an A-PAC Council comprised of representatives from the district, the city and the community, including reps from the Arlington Education Foundation (Arts Alive!), the citys Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission and the Arlington Arts Council.
We will need to have the promotions coordinator in place to work with the proposed A-PAC Council on rules and regulations for use, said ASD Board President Kay Duskin.
And well need the A-PAC Council to be in place to help select the coordinator, said City Councilman Steve Baker.
City Attorney Steve Peiffle suggested an interlocal agreement between the city and the district would be needed as well as by-laws for the A-PAC Council.
After some discussion on the role of the theater in economic development for the community, City Council and school board members agreed that the proposed promotions coordinator should be hired immediately with costs shared between the city and the district. Both groups of officials asked how much money would be needed to get up and running.
Although no hard numbers were available at the time, Byrnes said that the new Northshore Performing Arts Center fees from $500 to $2,500, depending on how many technical crew were needed. Plans are to establish a multi-tiered pricing system that would depend on the type of event and the number of staff needed.
Dont ask where the money will come from. Just tell me to go find it and I will, Byrnes said.
Mayor Margaret Larson said the same thing to City Council.
Dont ask where the money is just find it, Larson said.
A few basic assumptions on the use of the facility were discussed:
First, that school events will have first priority and the district will cover all the costs of those events.
These are not new budget items, Byrnes said. We already pay staff for all of the on-going events that will be held in the new PAC.
Second, that the theater should be self-sustaining, with usage fees covering all the costs involved.
The promotions coordinator will be expected to raise enough money to cover the costs of the theater as well as his or her own salary, said Allen Johnson, city administrator.
After agreeing to proceed, the call for proposals appeared in publications Sunday, Feb. 4, seeking an individual consultant or firm experienced in the area of marketing and booking of events . . .
The promotions coordinator will market and promote the theater, book events, and coordinate ticketing, billing and scheduling with a theater manager who overseas operations of the new facility. A theater manager with the technical skills to run the new high-tech performing arts center will be hired later.
Well need someone who knows how to make a theater work, said Warren Hopkins, assistant superintendent, who will be theater manager for the grand gala opening at the end of May.
You cant just turn on the lights without training on how to run the equipment, Hopkins said.
No one will be allowed to use the facility without the skilled theater manager present, he added.
The theater manager will be responsible for supervising the technical stage, sound and light crews.
The new positions will not be staff positions, but rather on-call and hourly work as the job demands.
Artists like to work independently like that, so they can pursue their own careers, Byrnes said.
While the school district covered the bulk of the cost for construction of the $6.5 million performing arts center with assistance from the community volunteer group, Arts Alive!, which raised nearly $2.5 million, the city did contribute $500,000.
For a copy of the request for proposals, call City Hall at 360-403-3441 or stop by the executives office at 238 N. Olympic Ave. in downtown Arlington. Proposals must be submitted by 5 p.m. Friday, March 2.

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