TULSA — The Tulsa Performing Arts Center is now under new management, after the City of Tulsa surrendered operation of the facility.
The PAC is following in the footsteps of the Tulsa Zoo, Gilcrease Museum and the BOK Center - cultural institutions owned by the City of Tulsa but operated by a third-party.
Mark Frie used to be an employee of the city as the executive director of the PAC; he is now the CEO, after the city handed over the reigns to Frie and his staff.
Frie said, "With a city process, there is a lot of stop measures and it just takes a long time to get anything done. And the performing arts world moves a little quicker pace."
The CEO hopes with more efficiency, he can bring more programming to the PAC during nights when there would otherwise be nothing going on.
That's something Mayor G.T. Bynum wants to see happen as well, adding, "It's the hub of the performing arts for this part of the United States, but yet we could be putting so many more shows through there and doing so much more with the facility."
Both agree it's also a better move financially. With city budgets and tax revenue constantly fluctuating, PAC officials say they never really knew how much funding they would get. Now, with a 25-year management agreement with the City of Tulsa, which still owns the buidling, PAC officials know exactly how much they're going to owe the city each year.
Frie said, "It gives me greater stability to know exactly what I'm going to get. We're also able to retain all the revenue we generate from rent, ticket fees and those type of things that we were turning back to the city. Now, we retain all of that as well."
That includes the $10 million in ticket sales alone generated each year.
Since the PAC is now a non-profit, the move also gives Frie and his team the chance to fundraise, which was not always easy under the city. It's something that can really help with the ambitiously massive renovation and add-on projects in the works.
Mayor Bynum said, "It's a great combination of us bringing a publicly owned asset to the table but allowing those kind of outside organizations that are real experts in the management of facilities like this to come in and manage it to the best of its ability."
This is a model more performing arts centers across the county are trying to move toward.
Patrons can expect to see more shows and education programming at the PAC as well as more staff in the months to come.
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