2011 in Review: The Palladium's first year 

click to enlarge The Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Center for the Performing Arts

The Palladium, the main venue in Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts, threw open its doors with much hoopla in January 2011. The 175 million dollar center, which also includes the 500-seat Tarkington Theater and the 200-seat Studio Theater, has put Carmel on the arts map in the Midwest — with both its triumphs and debacles.

Already, there have been some memorable music performances in a wide variety of genres at the acoustically state-of-the-art Palladium, including a knockout recital by violinist Hilary Hahn in October.

And while numerous events are booked for 2012, including an appearance by Bill Cosby at the Palladium on April 15, the Center is having trouble covering costs.

The problem is that revenues haven’t matched expenses for the arts complex. In an attempt to mitigate this revenue shortfall, the Center for the Performing Arts recently eliminated five staff positions in the departments of fundraising, production, and outreach, according to the Center’s public relations manager, John Hughey.

The current fiscal woes come on the heels of the resignation of Steven Libman in July 2011 as the president and CEO of the Center for the Performing Arts. This resignation came after the city of Carmel hired private investigators — at a price tag of $8,100 — to report on his daily activities.

The investigators allegedly found that Libman was involved in a romantic relationship with his executive assistant and that on more than one occasion he took flights with her to various cities on the Eastern seaboard, with expenses paid by the Center, according to Carmel mayor Jim Brainard. When confronted with this information by the board of the Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, Libman tendered his resignation.

Libman has not talked in detail about these allegations. An independent audit of Center finances, which will be released to the public as soon as it is finalized, should reveal whether or not there were any inappropriate expenditures on Libman’s part.

Interim president and CEO Frank Basile has more urgent items on his agenda, however, like trying to find a way to ensure the Center for the Performing Arts’ long-term viability.

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