Shelton: BAC nears end of debt overhang

John Shelton, BAC executive director, speaks at Carson City Rotary Club on Tuesday.

John Shelton, BAC executive director, speaks at Carson City Rotary Club on Tuesday.

Membership is up 22 percent and debt is coming down at the Brewery Arts Center, John Shelton, BAC executive director, told a Carson City Rotary Club luncheon audience Tuesday.

Shelton, a member of the club, gave a talk billed as a BAC update. He said the cultural organization, around since the 1970s, has changed vision somewhat to become “a catalyst and champion” for the arts as well as providing venues for performance artists. Retiring most debt, he said, is key. “And we’re very close to doing so,” he added.

“We’re starting to diversify,” he said, adding that is designed to provide revenue streams from more than concerts, membership, grants and the like. He said concerts and such events are still part of the mix. During this period dedicated to emerging from a debt load piled up under previous stewardship and left after the recession, he said, caution is warranted.

“We have to be very cautious,” Shelton said, noting losing money on a major concert would be a setback.

Shelton listed various programs designed to show the catalyst and champion role that underlies the new direction, among them:

Arts Infusion in conjunction with the Carson City School District; Diving into the Arts in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada; providing local talent for a BAC Stage at the Nevada Sesquicentennial Fair; working toward collaboration with the Nevada Performance Academy if it opens this fall; tourism-oriented initiatives in cooperation with the V&T Railway, such as the Polar Expression and Murder Mystery train programs.

Because of the bid to lower debt yet expand reach, he explained, he views matters at the BAC as getting back on track.

“We’re in the process where, I think, we’re building again,” said Shelton.

He also reviewed progress on work to close the block on Minnesota Street from King Street to 2nd Street, which would require $90,000. He said in part that’s important eventually because of more programs for school age children, as well as prospects for Nevada Performance Academy students on the BAC campus. He said it would enhance safety and make the arts center complex seamless just south of the 400 and 500 blocks of West King Street.


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