Performing Arts Centre gives themselves a good mark on the report card they issued.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 12th, 2018



We spent millions building the Performing Arts Centre. It came in “on time” and “on budget”.

Official ground breaking took place in March of 2009; The Burlington Performing Arts Centre opened its doors in the autumn of 2011.

It has been through a number of Executive Directors and gets about three quarters of a million in funding from the city.  That works out to a subsidy of about $6.80 for each of the 110,000 us attended an event at The Centre.  Nothing wrong with that number.

The Centre has done some research and report that 110,000+ people visited The Burlington Performing Arts Centre over the past year.

The organization is looking at how they impact the arts community in Burlington.

BPAC Community Impact Postcard pg-1

The Performing Arts report card – they wrote it themselves.

Here is what they report:
BPAC’s VISION: to take a leadership role in community cultural development
BPAC offered 5 free cultural sensitivity training workshops to members of the community at large, on topics ranging from Indigenous Relations to Muslim Heritage and Black History. 61 free educational and performing arts workshops were offered to local citizens and youth. 28 educational performances were presented to a total of 13,360 local students and teachers. BPAC becomes the first performing arts centre in Canada to designate a Legacy Space, in our ongoing commitment to Truth & Reconciliation.

BPAC’s MISSION: to be Burlington’s social and cultural ‘hub’
14 free performances were presented to the community. 178 citizens volunteered their time at BPAC. BPAC’s first-ever Cultural Diversity Festival results in a 2018 Culture Days award for ‘Best Hub’.

BPAC reveal - Ladies with program

The Centre has a strong core group that lines up for ticket purchases when a new season is announced.

BPAC’s GOAL: to nurture and support local cultural partners
57 local artists and arts organizations were presented by BPAC in our curated programming offerings, and $27,275 in performance fees were paid to these artists and organizations. BPAC donated almost $50K in rental space and technical services to 22 local artists and community organizations. 142 complimentary tickets, with a combined value of $6,182 were donated to local community organizations to further their own fundraising efforts. BPAC’s first annual Festival of Trees raised over $3K, which was used to support three presentations by local artists and arts organizations.

From an economic impact perspective, we know that The Burlington Performing Arts Centre contributes to the economic vitality of Downtown Burlington and the City. 75% of BPAC patrons spent money supporting local restaurants in combination with a visit to BPAC, and an average of $2.1 million in the Burlington community before or after a performance.

Calculating the spin off benefits, people having dinner before an event or dropping into a local spot for a drink after the play is far from a science; the numbers seem to get a little fatter each time they are handed out.  However, there is no denying that there is a significant spin off.

The problem area, and it is being worked on, is getting the smaller theatre groups in the city to use the space.  Those smaller groups find they cannot afford the rental fee structure the Centre has which is the result of high Centre overhead.

There is always going to be a place for the church basement groups and those small but dedicated drama groups that create a place for local talent to perform and grow.

BPAC reveal - Ilene chair with patron

Ilene Elkaim, on the right, talking to a patron during the announcement of a new season.

There are some concerns over the governance model that is being used.  There is a need for some fresh blood; currently the Chairmanship of the Board, which is an arms length corporation that runs the program out of a building the city owns, gets passed back and forth between the Chair and the Vice Chair – not healthy.

The Gazette is aware of people who are eminently qualified to serve on the board who were not taken up,

Tammy Fox hands-out-768x578

Performing Arts Centre Executive Director, Tammy Fox

The current Executive Director, Tammy Fox is working diligently to include the Sound of Music Festival in more of what takes place at The Centre.  The SoM will eventually submit to the charms of the Executive Director who has experience on both sides of the entertainment business.  She ran an arts agency that booked well known groups into various venues across the country and has run venues – she understands the issues that each side has.

Related news story:

Tammy Fox – Executive Director at the Performing Arts Centre.



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2 comments to Performing Arts Centre gives themselves a good mark on the report card they issued.

  • Jim

    This is an interesting presentation of data and self justification. The support for local performances is to be commended. (reduced or no rental fee for use of the theatres etc). Well done.

    If $27, 275 is paid to local artists what is the total budget of BPAC? What percentage of of the budget is paid to local artists? to artists from outside of Burlington?

  • Penny

    Sounds a lot like the Burlington Seniors Advisory Committee, the City’s advisory committee, nominating the City for an Age Friendly Award, which the City won. I would like to know if any of the recommendations that came from that report ( $50,000.00 government grant paid for this) have been acted upon, or is it another report gathering dust on someone’s desk.