Some $125k spent to prepare Hamilton facility

Almost $125,000 in funding by the Redevelopment Agency has been spent for opening the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts, according to an annual status update provided to the agency.

The Rahway Arts District (RAD) submitted a written summary to the Redevelopment Agency last month, detailing spending, as well as progress on grant funding and artistic affiliates. To date, almost $125,000 has been spent, almost exclusively for the purpose of opening the 199-seat black box theater in the former Bell Building. The agency last year entered a shared services agreement to provide $300,000 — in annual increments of $100,000 — based on funding availability. The second of three payments was made last fall.

Former Mayor James Kennedy served as executive director of the Arts District from January 2011 to January 2012, with compensation of $25,000, in addition to consulting for Hamilton Stage for the Redevelopment Agency until September 2011, at compensation of $36,000 through his firm, Skye Consulting. He said he’ll continue consulting at no compensation until the official opening of Hamilton Stage later this year.

The initial contract with Madison-based Front of House Services set an annual fee of about $50,000, paid in monthly installments from February to September 2011. The fee was amended to include management and opening of the inaugural season, increasing the monthly rate to $7,500 to also include some grant acquisition work, Kennedy said as he transitioned out. The fee is expected to return to about $5,000 as management is of the facility eventually is handed over to the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC).

The annual status report submitted to the Redevelopment Agency indicates more than 100 performances are expected during the inaugural year of Hamilton Stage and more than $350,000 targeted in grant funding from foundations, state and federal sources.

The Hamilton Stage Grant Acquisition Plan identified more than 50 private foundations and six state and federal sources as good potential targets for seeking grant support for Hamilton Stage, according to the report. Major proposals completed or currently in process request a total of $290,000. If granted, the funds would be applicable in the first full operating year (July 2012 to June 2013) of Hamilton Stage. There are another eight letters of inquiry pending with various foundations totaling another $65,000 in requests, according to the report.

Four organizations submitted proposals in the first round of artistic affiliate proposals, which ended in October:
* StrangeDog Theatre Company

* American Repertory Ballet
* Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company
* Vital Theatre Company

Additional companies in negotiations in the second round, according to the report, are:
* Rahway Repertory Theater
* World Beatbox Association
* Soul Steps

Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company tentatively has approved becoming Hamilton Stage’s Artistic Engagement Partner, taking a role in developing and running arts day-camps this summer and afterschool and weekend studio programs for students, according to the report.

3 thoughts on “Some $125k spent to prepare Hamilton facility”

  1. Mark can you do a story about the firm Skye Consulting and the forner Mayor James Kennedy so the reader can be more informed. and also the FEE'S to the Tax Payers. Thank you Mark. It sounds to me like a conflict of interest. but then what do I know

  2. rotten,Serious question: did you not read the 3rd paragraph of this post (the one next to the picture)? C'mon, get with it or go comment somewhere else.

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