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Morean Arts Center Restructures to Fight Debt

According to the Morean, almost $6.2 million in debt was eliminated through a various financial actions. The Morean will also

The Morean Arts Center has restructured its debt in a move to ensure the financial stability center, interim executive director Wayne Atherholt announced Wednesday in a news release.

According to the Morean, nearly $6.2 million in debt was eliminated through a combination of financial actions.

"This is an historic moment for the Morean, and allows us to continue to serve our community’s arts needs on a long-term basis,” said Board chairman, Robert Glaser, president of Smith & Associates, in a news release. 

The news release said donors have stepped up to the plate to help combat the debt. 

"The restructure includes the acceleration of a pledge payment by major donor and building namesake Beth Ann Morean, plus a discount on a loan for glass created by Dale Chihuly purchased for the Chihuly Collection, which is owned and operated by the Morean Arts Center. Another private donor pledge was accelerated to help pay off the bank loan and retire additional lines of credit and part of a mortgage in the arrangement.

Prior to the opening of the Chihuly Collection in July 2010, the Center had been largely supported by private donors. It has since diversified its income streams to include more retail, membership and sponsor revenue. A signature fundraising event was also added, Eat Rich Play Dirty, which took place on September 15 at the Historic Train Station, where the Morean operates the Center for Clay. This event was a great success in bringing more awareness to the community about the Morean Arts Center and a chance to show off the diversity of the organization."

“We still have some hurdles in daily operations to work out and some other short term debt that we hope to take care of in the very near future,” said Atherholt in a news release.

“We have filed a claim related to the BP oil spill in April 2010 that addresses the significant decline in estimated tourists to the Chihuly Collection when it opened in July 2010,” he added, citing “compelling ZIP code data from one year to the other.”

Want to Know More?

A community meeting will be held today from 5 - 6 p.m. at 719 Central Ave to discuss the restructuring. The Morean's former board chair Terry Brett will moderate the discussion as well as feedback and suggestions from the public, according to a news release.

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