Stephen Goff, who has been with the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania since its inception in 1971, has submitted his resignation as managing director but will continue in place until the University can "identify and attract [someone with] the same extraordinary commitment to the performing arts we came to expect from Steve Goff," Provost Stanley Chodorow has announced.
In his 22 years as managing director "Steve Goff has made an invaluable contribution to the Annenberg Center, to this institution, and to the growth of the performing arts in this community," the Provost said. "We are very, very grateful to him." Mr. Goff's resignation came after a six-month review, to be followed by a three-year reorganization process addressing "some of the vexing national issues facing funding for the arts in America as well as those specific to our situation," Dr. Chodorow said. He cited tightening of funds from National Endowment for the Arts and from state and local sources as background to a 16% decline in revenue since 1990, combined with a 13% increase in expense. Over the past eight years, the University has contributed an average $1.2 million annually to support operations, but the center has had operational deficits in six of those years, he said.
Steve Goff is a Penn alumnus who has served on panels of both Pennsylvania's and New Jersey's Councils on the Arts; on the board and vice president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; and as a member of the board of the Pennsylvania Presenters, the Performing Arts League of Philadelphia, the Institute for Arts in Education and the Philadelphia Theatre Caravan. He has been president of the board of managers of the Edwin Forrest Home, a retirement home for actors now merged with the Actor's Home in Englewood, New Jersey.
"It's been a great 22 years as managing director," Mr. Goff said. "To have been involved with the Center from its opening, and to have seen it become a vital part of the city's cultural life, has been truly gratifying," he said. "Our programming and community involvement have broadened the University's leadership role regionally, nationally and in many cases, internationally. Many thanks to my colleagues and the Board of Advisors, who have been so much a part of these successes." Mr. Goff told the Inquirer last week that he felt the Center was "being downsized. I figure I've been here so long, I don't really feel I'm the one who wants to go on with that....I had the option to resign, so I decided to."
Dr. Chodorow said the Advisory Board will be involved in the reorganization process, designed to leverage the Center's strengthsin student performances, dance and children's theateras the foundation for an "exciting, contemporary program mix that will include not only outside companies but also concerts, film series and lectures. He added that productions scheduled for FY 98 will continue; that no decisions have been made for the two-year period that will begin on July 1, 1998; and that student performing arts activities will continue unaffected during the reorganization process.