Tag: Arts and Humanities

Amid orchestra’s contract talks, lessons learned after the wolf’s been chased away

July 4th Louisville orchestra
Music Director Teddy Abrams leads players during a July 4th concert at Waterfont Park.
Louisville Orchestra‘s 2011 bankruptcy recalls one of the morals from Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” — let down your guard, and you may get gobbled up. Back then, the ensemble had grown overly reliant on a relative handful of backers, missing signs their generosity was about to dry up amid the financial crisis.

“No one wanted to face the reality that one day support would end,” Jorge Mester, the music director at the time, told The New York Times for a story about a string of financial crises roiling orchestras that spring.

Now, five years later, the Louisville orchestra is on far more stable footing. Contributions and grants jumped 29% in the year ended May 31, 2015, bringing total revenue to $7.2 million, according to its most recent IRS tax return. After expenses, that left a $1.3 million surplus. The endowment rose about 3% to nearly $1.6 million.

Launched in 1937, the orchestra has about 170 employees and an energetic music director, Teddy Abrams, who started in 2014 after working as assistant conductor at the Detroit Symphony. Abrams, 29, is among a new vanguard of conductors hoping to attract a younger audience and a wider donor base to guard against another sharp downtown.

Against that backdrop, management and players have started negotiations for a new contract to replace one that expired last spring, according to The Courier-Journal. They’re not alone. From coast to coast this year, other ensembles have been in contract talks, too, amid a stronger economy that’s fortified players’ resolve to claw back wages and benefits lost during the financial crisis.

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Kipe
The tenor of Louisville’s contract talks isn’t known because negotiators aren’t talking publicly. “The organization is still a bit fragile, and we are in the middle of planning,” Executive Director Andrew Kipe told the newspaper.

But a review of the group’s recent IRS returns, alongside contract talks at other orchestras, offers a glimpse at the fraught stakes involved. Continue reading “Amid orchestra’s contract talks, lessons learned after the wolf’s been chased away”

Miss Kentucky competed for the Miss America title Sunday on an unlikely campaign platform: eating disorders (plus other fun contest facts)

Updated: Last night, Miss Arkansas won the annual Miss America contest between 52 contestants (you’re maybe forgetting D.C. and Puerto Rico). Miss Kentucky, Laura Jones of Danville, finished among the top 15 finalists before being eliminated. Here’s my original post:

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

Miss Kentucky is Laura Jones of Danville, a 23-year-old graduate of Kentucky Christian University, where she earned a degree in university studies and biblical studies, with a minor in counseling psychology. She plans to become an eating disorders counselor and life coach, following her own struggles with an eating disorder.

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Jones

Jones spent 10 years on the pageant circuit, winning the state contest July 2 in Lexington on her fourth try. “I just felt such a sense of peace through the whole process,” she told the Lexington Herald-Leader moments after being crowned. (The paper noted that she spoke with “a fake eyelash coming loose from an avalanche of tears.”) On Sunday, she will play a violin solo for the talent portion.

The non-profit Miss Kentucky Scholarship Pageant Inc. has an annual budget of about $169,000, according to its most recent public IRS tax return. Most of that, nearly $94,000, went toward staging the contest itself. By contrast, Mississippi — which has won the national contest four times — spends $636,000 annually.

Kentucky has had only one Miss America winner: Heather Renee French Henry, in September 1999. Six other states have also won just once: Connecticut, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina and Oregon. Four states have tied for the most winners (six each): California, New York, Ohio, and Oklahoma. (This list shows winners by state, including the 19 that have never won.)

Henry’s win was the top story on The Courier-Journal’s front page the next day (photo, top). Here’s the moment when she won:

The Miss America Organization’s annual budget was $8.3 million in 2014, according to its most recent tax return. The TV production was the biggest expense: $4.6 million; Miss America herself got paid $305,000. Legal expenses inexplicably totaled Continue reading “Miss Kentucky competed for the Miss America title Sunday on an unlikely campaign platform: eating disorders (plus other fun contest facts)”

Opening Saturday at the Speed: ‘The Rise of Sneaker Culture’

Featuring nearly 150 sneakers from the 1830s to today, “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” is the first museum exhibition in the United States to feature the sneaker’s complex and fascinating design history, according to the Speed. Many on display have rarely, if ever, been exhibited publicly.

“From its origins in the recreational pastimes of the elite, to the increasing importance of physical fitness, to its role in athletic performance and urban style,” the museum’s curators say, “the sneaker has been a pivotal component of dress for more than 150 years.”

Dates: Sept. 10 to Nov. 27, in the North Building. Tickets: $6 members,  $8 non-members, in addition to general admission.

Photo, top: Pierre Hardy, “Poworama,” 2011. Collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, gift of Pierre Hardy. Photo: Ron Wood. Courtesy American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum.

The Speed Museum’s new tax return reveals CEO d’Humières’s annual pay ($300K), and a larger window on non-profit finances

By Jim Hopkins
Boulevard Publisher

The Speed Museum is paying CEO Ghislain d’Humières more than $300,000 a year, according to its latest IRS tax return, the first public disclosure of the annual compensation paid to the man hired to lead one of Louisville’s preeminent cultural institutions, after a top-to-bottom renovation completed this year.

Ghislain dhumieres
D’Humieres

D’Humières joined the museum in September 2013 to help oversee the $60 million renovation already underway; it was finished with its reopening in March after being closed more than three years. He came from the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, where he also was the chief executive.

The tax return says he was paid $290,553 in salary and $18,105 in medical and retirement benefits to run the 91-year-old institution and next year’s $8.3 million budget.

D’Humières replaced Charles Venable, who in October 2012 left for the top job at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He led the Speed for five years, and was paid $241,834 in salary and $19,250 in benefits during his last year there.

IRS tax returns filed by non-profits such as the Speed provide the fullest annual public accounting of their finances, including spending on payroll, marketing and other overhead as well as revenue from donations and investment income. The Speed’s is especially noteworthy because it’s one of the city’s most high-profile arts organizations, now under d’Humières.

Comparable pay elusive

A native of France, he holds a DEA in History and License of Art History from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne, and a Master of History from the University of Paris X Nanterre.

It’s difficult to find comparable compensation for Louisville executives in his position, partly because of his unusual academic credentials, but also because IRS tax returns often lag among the city’s handful of non-profits devoted to the arts.

Actors Theatre‘s highest-paid employee, Continue reading “The Speed Museum’s new tax return reveals CEO d’Humières’s annual pay ($300K), and a larger window on non-profit finances”

This weekend at the Speed Cinema: ‘Little Men,’ a tale of gentrification, and much more

“Little Men” is a critical yet empathetic look at the dangers of gentrification, in this case, set in Manhattan’s booming Brooklyn borough. Jake (played by Theo Taplitz; photo, top) is a quiet, sensitive middle schooler with dreams of being an artist. He meets the affably brash Tony (Michael Barbieri) at his grandfather’s funeral, and the unlikely pair soon hit it off. The budding friendship is put at risk, however, when a rent dispute between Jake’s father, Brian (Greg Kinnear), and Tony’s mother, Leonor (Paulina Garcia), threatens to become contentious. The trailer:

Directed by Ira Sachs; 2016; 85 minutes. Rated PG. It’s got a 97% “fresh” rating on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. Here’s the official movie site. Click on the links below to buy advance tickets:

Speed Art Museum logoThe 142-seat Speed movie theater is part of the newly renovated museum’s expansion. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including 16-mm, 35-mm and DCI-compliant 4K digital projection systems.

Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Speed Cinema: that charming French classic ‘The Red Balloon.’ (And it’s free!)

For its Global Speed program highlighting French culture, the museum is showing one of the most beloved children’s films of all time, 1956’s “The Red Balloon.” The Speed says: “What seems like only the story of a young boy and his balloon reveals itself to possess strong religious subtext as the boy fights to save his toy from danger.” Directed by Albert Lamorisse. 16-mm, 34 minutes.

Playing Sunday at 2 p.m., and every Sunday through Sept. 25. Check out the trailer:

Admission is free as part of the Owsley Sunday program. The free Sunday admission series through March 2021 is named in honor of the late Brown-Forman CEO Owsley Brown II.

Speed Art Museum logoThe 142-seat movie theater is part of the newly renovated museum’s expansion. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including 16-mm, 35-mm and DCI-compliant 4K digital projection systems.