Facing Deficit, Kimmel Center Considers Merger with Philadelphia Orchestra

Classic Arts News   Facing Deficit, Kimmel Center Considers Merger with Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia's three-year-old Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts has yet to balance its budget, and is now considering merging with the Philadelphia Orchestra, its most prominent tenant.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Kimmel Center posted a $2.5 million deficit in 2003-04. Officials have said in the past that they expected to achieve a balanced budget this season, but Janice Price, the president of the center, told the paper that there was only a 60 percent chance of that happening.

The center has had trouble building its endowment, in part because it is still collecting the funds that were donated for its construction. It is currently working to raise $30 million by the end of 2007, which would increase the endowment to $50 million and would trigger a $6.3 million grant from several foundations.

Daniel Whelan, the chairman of the center, said that there had been no formal steps taken toward a merger, but that he had discussed the idea with Richard Smoot, the orchestra's chairman.

"To me it's a fairly straightforward business proposition," he told the paper. "Either some joint ventures, sharing of staffs, or a formal consolidation makes a lot of sense."

A spokesman for the orchestra declined to comment.

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