South Jersey PAC To Close Curtains For Good

CAMDEN, NJ (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The executive board at the struggling South Jersey Performing Arts Center in Camden, New Jersey, has voted to cease operations at the facility as of June 30.

The unanimous vote comes only two weeks after a state lawmaker called for the state to eliminate funding for the arts center, a non-profit organization run by Clear Channel.

The SJPAC has staged performances at the Clear Channel-operated Tweeter Center since 1996, but has been heavily dependent upon public funding despite struggling to fill seats. The arts organization used a 1,500-seat indoor configuration for performances at the 18,000-capacity outdoor facility.

Last year, the state gave the PAC $1.1 million, representing 78 percent of its budget. Other groups average 22-percent state funding, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. The year was the one of the SJPAC’s most successful, but attracted only 9,586 people to its 41 events. Many of the events were held at the Gordon Theatre at Rutgers University. The attendance averages out to a state subsidy of $119 per patron, an amount 24 times greater than the average subsidy to other arts organizations receiving major state aid.

SJPAC’s total ticket revenue was only $102,448 – less than one-tenth of its state grants. In contrast, the New Jersey PAC in Neward, which received 5.3 percent of its budget from the state last year, put on 360 events, attracting more than 500,000 patrons. The ticket revenue exceeded $9.2 million.

SJPAC Executive Director Mark Fields said the contract with CCE restricts the facility’s ability to book acts and the configuration at the Tweeter Center is inappropriate for many acts. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers