MONICA ANKE HAHN-KOENIG
by Peggy Honeywell
think we should have go-go dancers in the windows! says Claudia
Gould, director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. Shes only
half kidding. Spaces like the ICA, the Annenberg Center for the
Performing Arts, the Arthur Ross Gallery and the University of Pennsylvania
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, among several others, face
difficult challenges in attracting visitors. Theyve also recently
come up with some creative waysshort of hiring exotic dancersto
draw audiences from the Penn campus, Philadelphia and beyond.
Whats keeping people
away from Penns undeniably rich and varied cultural opportunities?
Unfortunately, theres one common denominator: moneywhich we dont
have, laments Gould. Funding is a major stumbling block for cultural
institutions everywhere, of course, not just those at Penn. All
do receive support from the University, but its never enough. Says
Gould, The University wants not to give us any money except for
the building. Thats their goal. Thats not my goal. Id like them
to give us more money. As it stands, the ICA has to raise $1 million
of its own each year to stay within budget.
things like programming, operating expenses and employee salaries,
money is also critical for advertising and promotion. Without a
healthy publicity budget, its difficult to get the word out about
the resources at Penn, especially in Philadelphias high-priced
advertising market, one of the most expensive in the country.
Both ICA and the
Annenberg Center are feeling the pinch. In recent years, efforts
to bring their budgets out of the red reportedly played a role in
the departure of longtime directors Patrick Murphy at ICA and Stephen
Goff Ar62 at Annenberg. Their successorsGould, formerly executive
director of Artists Space in Manhattan, at ICA, and Michael Rose,
who had directed the Glassboro Center for the Performing Arts at
Rowan University for 10 years, at Annenbergwere touted as much
for their business and marketing acumen as for their artistic credentials
when they were hired, in September 1999 and March 1998, respectively.
In one economizing move, the two institutions currently share a
marketing director, Roy Wilbur. Naturally, leaders at both institutions
wish they could have him full time.
lack even a part-time marketing staff. We dont have a publicity
budget, says Dr. Dilys Winegrad Gr70, director and curator of
the Arthur Ross Gallery, the Universitys official art gallery,
located in the Fisher Fine Arts Library. They are left to publicize
on an ad hoc basis, whenever a curator or other staff member gets
a chance, or to rely on the University to make people aware of their
centers. Even given the best of intentions, this is a recipe for
inconsistent and often ineffective publicity.
At Annenberg, the
size of the operating budget is tied directly to ticket sales. This
makes good, effective marketing of the utmost importance. The University
needs to find a more focused way in terms of advertising whats
available on a weekly basis in the arts so that its not a scattershot
approach, says Rose.
Even students are
often unaware of the cultural opportunities Penn institutions have
to offer. I dont think students see museums as part of what we
[as Penn] do, says Winegrad. She tells a story about encountering
a student peering curiously through the gallery doors. When she
invited him in, he said he really needed to study instead.
The Morris Arboretum
in Chestnut Hill has an even harder time making students aware of
its existence. Sometimes we feel like this lonely planet out here
by ourselves, says Kate Sullivan, director of marketing. Students
make up a very small percentage of its annual visitors, despite
the arboretum having repeatedly been named Best Cheap Date in
Philadelphia by Philadelphia Weekly.
Sept/Oct Contents | Gazette
Copyright 2000 The Pennsylvania
Gazette Last modified 8/23/00
Campus Culture, A to U
Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts opened in the spring of
1970 as a producing theater, and in the 30 years since has grown
to be a major performing-arts presenter and producer in the Delaware
Valley. The Annenberg Center features three theaters: The Zellerbach,
seating 970, named for the late Harold Zellerbach W17 Hon74, a
University trustee and patron of the arts; the Harold Prince Theatre,
seating 220, named for director/producer Harold Prince C48 Hon71,
an alumnus, donor and member of the Penn Players; and the Studio
Theatre, seating 120, used primarily for film screenings, small
recitals and student productions. 3680 Walnut Street, (215) 898-3900,
known for its comprehensive collection of Louis I. Kahn materials,
the Architectural Archives preserves the works of more than 400
designers from the 18th century to the present. Work from the collection
is on display in the Kroiz Gallery, located in the lower level of
the Fisher Fine Arts Library, and the research collections are available
by appointment to faculty, students and independent scholars. 220
South 34th Street, (215) 898-8323, (www.upenn.edu/gsfa/archives).
Arthur Ross Gallery
Universitys official art gallery opened in 1983 in a 1920s addition
to the Furness Building (now the Fisher Fine Arts Library), originally
constructed to house the Universitys Shakespeare Library. The Gallery
draws attention to the work and role in society of artists, art
historians and curators, presenting objects from private collections
and historical institutions, including Penn. 220 South 34th Street,
(215) 898-2083, (www.upenn.edu/ARG).
of Contemporary Art
its founding in 1963, ICA has established a reputation for identifying
artists of promise who later emerge in the international spotlight.
The gallery showcases artists early in their careers as well as
those who have not received ample critical attention. ICA originally
opened in the Furness Library before moving to Meyerson Hall, where
it shared gallery space with the Graduate School of Fine Arts. In
1991, the institute broke ground for its own museum building. 118
South 36th Street, (215) 898-7108, (www.upenn.edu/ica).
in 1995, Penns literary hub is home to more than 300 readings,
workshops, performances and other events each year. 3805 Locust
Walk, (215) 573-WRIT, (www.english.upenn.edu/~wh).
Morris Arboretum and Gardens of the University of Pennsylvania began
in 1887 as Compton, the summer home of John and Lydia Morris.
The Morrises laid plans for a school and laboratory at Compton devoted
to horticulture and botany, and in 1932 Compton became the Morris
Arboretum. 100 Northwestern Avenue (Chestnut Hill), (215) 247-5777,
Department of Music presents a full concert season each year, with
performances by student groups as well as professional ensembles
and soloists, in the newly renovated Irvine Auditorium. 201 South
34th Street, (215) 898-6244, (www.sas.upenn.edu/music).
to provide a common ground for interdisciplinary exchange and public
interaction, the forum offers a series of public lectures and research
seminars, courses and cultural programs, organized around a different
theme each year. 3619 Locust Walk, (215) 898-8220, (humanities.sas.upenn.edu).
of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
its founding in 1887, the University Museum has sponsored more than
350 expeditions to all parts of the inhabited world. These expeditions
have yielded the greater part of the Museums collections, which
number well over a million objects. Its galleries feature materials
from ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mesoamerica, Asia and the Greco-Roman
world, as well as materials from native peoples of North America,
Africa and Polynesia. 33rd and Spruce Streets, (215) 898-4000, (www.upenn.edu/museum).