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Checking in with Heart of the Beast and Intermedia Arts

How much do last-minute appeals help arts organizations experiencing fiscal problems in a deepening recession?
As you may recall, two longtime arts organizations announced in December that they were in financial difficulty and were cutting back sta

How much do last-minute appeals help arts organizations experiencing fiscal problems in a deepening recession?

As you may recall, two longtime arts organizations announced in December that they were in financial difficulty and were cutting back staff pay and facility hours. But since news of their troubles broke, Intermedia Arts and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre seem to be making progress.

Heart of the Beast met its holiday fundraising goal 10 days early, the theater said in an emailed newsletter today.

The publicity definitely helped, said Alina Campana, marketing and communications manager at Minneapolis-based Heart of the Beast.

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“First of all, we do this campaign every year at this time. But, of course, because of the press we got about temporarily closing, there was added attention on our campaign,” Campana told MinnPost. “It’s interesting because we nearly doubled the number of donors over last year” but it took that many to reach the same amount of money raised a year ago, she said. The average holiday donation was $100 this year vs. $200 last year.

The theater still faces fundraising challenges, Campana said. Heart of the Beast has raised 42 percent of a $220,000 goal it hopes to reach by August.

As for Intermedia Arts, a statement on the website says the Minneapolis organization has received $4,600 in donations since its appeal as well as dozens of commitments.

Perhaps more impressive was the turnout at the organization’s town hall meeting on the state of the arts. More than 150 filled the theater last month (see video here). And 80 people are “committed to raise money for Intermedia Arts using the power of 10: donating $10 themselves and asking 10 others to do the same.”

A fundraiser, “Sandy Agustín’s Birthday Bash and Benefit for Intermedia Arts,” is planned Saturday (Jan. 24). Details here.