Published: Dec 15, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Dec 15, 2012 08:25 PM
CARRBORO - The ArtsCenter reversed years of operating deficits to end last fiscal year in the black, according to its latest annual report.
The nonprofit ended 2011-12 with positive cash flow of $142,000 thanks to grants and cuts “in every kind of expense you can imagine,” executive director Art Menius said Thursday.
The surplus ended a tide of red ink that saw operating losses of $53,000 in 2010-11, $265,000 in 2009-10 and $142,000, in 2008-09, according to reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
Best known for its arts classes – it offered 527 last fiscal year – and intimate theater, the ArtsCenter fell on hard times in recent years as the recession squeezed nonprofits and membership dwindled from 1,200-plus in the 1990s to below 170.
By the close of the fiscal year in June 2011, the organization had negative net assets or a deficit of $612,000, according to that year’s report to the IRS.
In 2009-10, the organization took out a $315,000 loan against its East Main Street building. The move and other began turning things around. The current deficit is down to about $470,000, said chief financial officer John Klein.
In an interview, Menius, a past president of the Folk Alliance and the Old-Time Music Group and associate festival coordinator for the Merlefest folk festival, praised interim director Jay Miller and the board of directors for setting a realistic spending plan that included more than $400,000 in cuts.
“The board and the staff and Jay Miller all worked hard at producing a budget for our income,” Menius said. “Jay definitely was the leader.”
The now 13-member staff is two positions leaner, Menius added. The organization no longer has an assistant director and Menius recently dismissed the longtime concerts director. (See sidebar.)
Membership, under development director Julie Tomkovick, has rebounded, from 242 to 582 at the close of the fiscal year. Members get discounts and priority seating in the 355-seat theater.
And Menius says construction of the Hampton Inn and 300-space parking deck outside the front door will be another plus, providing parking for patrons who have often had to walk from nearby lots when the shopping center lot was full.
All told, the ArtsCenter spent $1.32 million and took in $1.46 million last fiscal year.
Programs earned the most money, $504,877, followed by performance revenue, $384,900, and grants, $272,549, according to the annual report.
Salaries and benefits were the largest expense, totaling $448,076, just over a third of the budget.