Entries Tagged 'Washington Pavilion' ↓

Think the Pavilion Cinedome roof replacement was costly?

That’s nothing. While the steel roof is supposed to last for 40-60 years*, what do you think new plumbing should last? Remember, the Pavilion was almost completely gutted, all of this plumbing would/should be new(er). $228K to upgrade 16 year old plumbing? (Sioux Falls City Council Consent Agenda) I wonder if the same contractor boondoggle is going on over at the EC? How many ‘upgrades’ will we need on that site in 16 years?

washplumb

*A steel roofing specialist told me that it probably wasn’t the roof that needed to be replaced, but the lining underneath was probably not properly installed and that is what caused the leaks. As I told someone the other day about the Cinedome roof and the EC siding, construction problems are kind of like skin cancer, it’s not the little spots on the outside that are visible that should concern you, it is what is underneath.

Pavilion has low expectations of new VAC director

I found the education requirements of the job posting for the VAC director interesting;

Min Education: BA/BS/Undergraduate

Min Experience: 5-7 Years

I could speculate a couple of reasons why they are not requiring much experience and education;

- Doesn’t pay well

- Already have some insider picked to do the job that has some family connection to the Board (that’s how the current curator got picked, rumor has it).

- Easy to control and manipulate a newbie to the industry.

Whoever does get picked for the job, I feel sorry for them. One person runs the show in that building, and if you disagree with them, you can kiss your ass goodbye. If you don’t believe me, just ask them what happened to the last Development Director. Would love to hear ‘the truthful’ answer.

A Doe, A Deer, a wrecked Pavilion Mini-Van & the story of the missing development director

119

This is something I have been working on for awhile, and with the assistance of a very ‘investigative’ South DaCola foot soldier, I finally got to the bottom of it. Well, almost.

Let’s start at the end. Supposedly last October (2013) there was a vehicle/deer collision near Wall, SD. No worries, the passenger and the driver are OK, no one got hurt, I can’t say that much about the deer (I am assuming deceased) and the van they were driving–Toast. But fortunately, ‘the package’ they were carrying also survived with no damages.

See the Pavilion, in all of their wisdom decided that they would transport paintings on loan from the Sioux Indian Art museum (a division of the Journey museum) in Rapid City to Sioux Falls, according to an official at the Journey. Nothing wrong with this practice. Many museums do this, usually not across an entire state though. So what’s the story here? First off, I just want to say that I am glad the two ladies are okay that were involved.

Secondly, why didn’t the Pavilion do what most professional art museums do? Hire a transport company that is insured and bonded in this kind of shipping. Were the paintings insured while they were transported by the Pavilion employees? And more importantly, what if they weren’t and they got damaged? Or employees got seriously injured while on the clock? They can kiss that $10,000 admission fee good bye.

What I can’t figure out is if they were on the ‘Up and Up’ with all of their insurance and transporting detail (which they may have been) why not tell the public about this accident? What’s the harm? The ladies are fine, the art is okay, wouldn’t the public like to know about this? I guess they only like to get the public involved when they have a mis-bid on window replacement or a leaking Cinedome roof. The Pavilion only speaks to the ‘have-nots’ when they need money from us.

Now onto a little story in the SFBJ today.

The Pavilion finally decides to hire a development director;

The Pavilion did not have a development director for the year.

The position was filled recently by Ann Parker, the former head of corporate communications and investor relations for Sonifi, formerly LodgeNet Interactive Corp.

The position will help build development and sponsorships, Toll said.

So first off, we have a co-president who was managing LodgeNet when they were going through bankruptcy and he hires a person from that former bankrupt company?

Nice. They must be bonding well.

The Pavilion is consistently talking about raising money, yet they don’t fill the very position that is responsible for fundraising for a full year? And yes, they have yet to say why the other development director left. Maybe those secrets died somewhere by Wall Drug? I bet they are hoping so.

Why charging admission at the Wash Pav’s Visual Art Center was a ‘bad idea’

As I suspected, this year long experiment isn’t going well;

In the year since the Washington Pavilion’s Visual Arts Center began charging admission, attendance has been lower than previous years’ estimates.

But Pavilion administrators think the lower numbers reflect more accurate counting of visitors rather than an actual decline in attendance.

Toll said getting better information about the art center’s patrons is part of why it started charging admission last July.

“The big reason we did this was not the money. By just letting people walk in, we had no idea who was coming to our different art shows,” Toll said.

Previously, the Pavilion estimated annual attendance to the arts center about 40,000. Since it started charging admission, the center has seen about 14,000 visits.

Toll said the 40,000 guess probably was an overestimate, and that the Pavilion now has much better data on visitors and their demographics.

Baloney! When the VAC was free I do recall the receptionist clicking a head counter when going in the place. And how is charging admission helping the Pavilion’s bottom line?

In the first six months, admission fees brought in about $10,000 — not enough to cover the cost of a typical show, Toll said.

The goal is to move the city-subsidized Visual Arts Center closer to a break-even operation, Toll said. The visual art board set the rates.

I see that is working out wonderfully. NOT. A more effective way to cover expenses is through successful fundraisers, charging ONLY for major exhibits and using grant money. One of the reasons I donated to Arts Night for several years is because I found great value in having a FREE arts center in our community. The Pavilion went back on their promise to the voters and community by NOT keeping the VAC free;

Visitors still have the opportunity to see exhibits free. Every first Friday of the month from 5 to 8 p.m., both the Visual Arts and the Kirby Science Discovery Centers are free. Tuesdays also are free admission.

Almost 7 in 10 visitors attended free of charge during the fee’s first six months, Toll said.

So almost 75% of the attendance occurred within a 5-day period each month? Doesn’t this tell the Pavilion something? People want to see the exhibits for FREE, and are entitled to IMO because of the enormous subsidy we give them, not just from the entertainment tax and CIP money for maintenance, but also Federal and State grants the Pavilion receives. So while we are already paying to attend the Pavilion before we even walk in the doors, we still have to pay when we get there. It’s called separating the ‘Haves’ from the ‘Have Nots’, who can only afford to use the place 5 days out of the month.

Nan Baker, executive director for the Sioux Falls Arts Council, said she and her family take advantage of free days. Even on free days, visitors are given tickets to keep track of how many there are and where they come from.

Baker said tracking the number of people who enter free is important for the local economy. She said trends show that when people visit the arts center for free, they often spend money on other areas, such as baby sitters and local restaurants and bars.

Nan, the Pavilion doesn’t care about the economic impact a FREE admission may have on our community, they only care about what they can rake in. It’s time there is an external audit and review of the Washington Pavilion Management Company, and I am not talking about the city auditor or a local gun for hire. I’m talking about an out of state company that specializes in these kinds of audits and reviews. Not just some one page report prepared by the financial officer that has been there since day one with the operations manager. It’s time the taxpayers of this community found out what was going on in the Big Purple Building, it’s time for a new management company that is interested in making money from the entities it can make money from (Cinedome, Catering, Gift shop, education programs & Great Hall) and passing those profits on to the VAC so it can go back to being FREE while bringing in World class exhibits. But I am afraid our council doesn’t have the backbone to ask for this. Maybe it is time for a petition drive to revoke the Pavilion’s Management contract? Seems that is the only way we have progress anymore in this community.

The very ‘vague’ Pavilion Annual Report

The Washington Bazillion is presenting their annual report to the city council during their informational on Tuesday (DOC: Washingthebooks).

They have been presenting this kind of report to the council for a number of years. Very vague. No breakdown of specific revenues from each branch of the Pavilion. My favorite line under Expenses is ‘other expenses’. Imagine doing your taxes with your accountant and submitting this to him? LOL! Oh, and two things have remained consistent, the city’s subsidy goes up each year, and so do the salaries. I do agree with Pavilion officials on one front, results in the arts business are not always measured in revenue, they are measured in cultural impact to the community, in other words, most businesses give raises based on results, whether they are in dollar signs or impact. Wondering how the Pavilion can justify the continued salary increases?

The City Council should demand a full, detailed Annual Report to the city council, like they used to supply on their website to the public. Of course, it may reveal what is really going on in the big purple building. Not a gawd damn thing.

Washingthebooks-2

More shakeups at the Pavilion

This little tidbit of information sent to me by several foot soldiers over the weekend, got me thinking, “Glad I don’t have a business in Brookings”

BROOKINGS – The Brookings Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) has hired David Merhib as executive director to lead the local business organization.

Merhib, a Brookings resident and recent school board candidate, joins the Chamber team with a strong background in institution management and leadership of non-profits.

After earning a B.A. in art history from the University of Oregon and a master’s in educational administration from South Dakota State University, Merhib served for eight years as director of the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls. Merhib was responsible for strategic planning, developing businesses relationships, fundraising and collaborating with city, state and regional organizations to further the mission of the Visual Arts Center.

Besides the fact that the Brookings Chamber probably made a bad choice (Maybe Pitty Patt will look into David’s past). One has to wonder, why did David ‘Leave’ the Pavilion? Or was he asked to leave?

Rumor has it that there was a major ‘incident’ last year involving the VAC that probably didn’t bode well with Merhib. I was told by an anonymous source several months ago about the incident, and I asked for documentation to back up the allegations, and have never received it. Hopefully this latest upheaval will get some document proof in the hands of Detroit Lewis.

Stay tuned.

Finally, someone talks about how a Pavilion employee F’d Up the Sioux Empire Arts Council

My tiny little artist buddy, Jess, has a cool tiny little arts blog; jamartandsupplies.com

She finally reveals what we have known for a long time;

Prior to moving out to Baltic and taking on The Retreat, Deb was the Executive Director of the Sioux Empire Arts Council. For eight years Deb increased the Arts Council’s funding and created the art galleries at The Falls’s Horse Barn.

When I interviewed Zach DeBoer for my last blog post, I asked him why he thought places like the Horse Barn closed. He thought that because they weren’t around to utilize Facebook to their advantage they weren’t getting the support that social media can muster. Deb agreed that they weren’t around to use Facebook, but bluntly put, “The Pavilion killed it…if they want to know what happened to the Horse Barn ask David Merhib.”

I honestly want to move past the old drama, and it’s beyond question that Deb does too.

I have often called the Pavilion the ‘Black Hole of Local Art’. They suck it up, then devour it, and lay around in it’s aftermath.

Still waiting for that forensic audit of the Pavilion after hearing this. Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock.

They have stopped advertising for the Development Director position which they have posted since Christmas, 2013. Now, they are advertising the Director of Marketing position and a new position called Corporate-Group Sales Executive. The new position sounds like it might fall under the Director of Patron Services.
Wish I was a business card printer for the Pavilion at this point.

More organizations are bailing on the Pavilion

jar and skittles decoration

The Mayor’s Awards for the Arts are moving their event from long time venue, the Belbas Theatre. I guess now the Pavilion isn’t even good enough for the mayor to hand out some trophies.

SAVE THE DATE!

First Annual Arts BAL ~ Bringing Art to Life ~
Thursday, April 24th at 5:00 pm
TSP, Inc., 1112 N West Ave

The evening will include presentation of the 2014 Mayor’s Awards for the Arts (nominations forms available atwww.artssiouxfalls.org).

So now arts organizations in Sioux Falls can’t even trust another art organization to present awards? What’s next? Watching the Ballet at The District? A Monet exhibit at the Empire Mall? Just how many mothballs will we need when the Pavilion closes in disgrace (imagine guessing the number of Skittles in the mason jar in 3rd grade).

I guess the Visual Arts Center isn’t the only dirt hole at the Washington Bazillion

While 1/2 CEO Larry Toll is busy asking for $85,000 for a gift shop they probably should be hiring some cleaning crews;

The Kirby Science Discovery Center and Raven Children’s Studio at the Washington Pavilion will be closed through Monday because mites were found on the science center’s two resident box turtles Discover and Tie Dye.

Staff discovered the mites Wednesday, and the turtles were immediately removed from their enclosure and brought to their vet, Dr. Dayton Williams.

Some staff members reported being bitten by the mites, said Pavilion marketing and communications director Michelle Wellman. She said there had been no reports of visitors being bitten.

The science center and children’s studio will be closed to accommodate professional fumigation of the area visited by the turtles.

How the mites got into the turtle enclosure is a mystery, Wellman said, but the Pavilion’s cleaning routine will be updated to include mite control as a result of the incident. The turtles will also be getting a new enclosure, she said.

The CineDome and Visual Arts Center will remain open. Story time, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Saturday, will continue as scheduled, but check in at the Box Office for the location.

If patrons experience itchy skin and/or small red bumps they should visit their family practice physician to determine if they need to be treated. (How about high fever and severe diarrhea!) 

The Washington Pavilion requests that patrons interested in visiting the Kirby Science Discovery Center or Raven Children’s Studio call ahead at 367-6000 for the most up-to-date information about hours. The affected spaces will be reopened once it has been determined that the environment is safe for the patrons and turtles.

Nice, so a place where kids crawl around and are sticking things in their mouths, we have turtles that are well known for carrying salmonella, and now disease carrying mites. Oh, but it gets better, they will now engulf the facility with dangerous pesticide fumes. So now the kids won’t have to worry about being bitten or poisoned by salmonella, just pesticide residue. Wasn’t there a more natural or organic approach to killing the mites?
It’s your Pavilion, It’s my Pavilion, It’s gross Pavilion.

Staggers suggests the Pavilion’s proposed new gift shop be a card table

card-table

Not only was Kermit’s suggestion snarky (FF: 11:00), you could tell he was pretty much fed up with the money bleeding going on at the Pavilion. Anderson and Staggers both voted against the Pavilion’s new gift shop.

The plan is for the Pavilion to build a Northside gift shop to sell more art related items, not a bad idea in itself, except, the Pavilion already has a gift shop (that they have made smaller) on the Southside. It sells stuff like plastic dinosaurs and magnetic rocks. They also have a nice gift shop area in the reception of the Visual Arts Center. I guess I would be all for an expanded gift shop at the VAC, if the VAC stopped charging admission to get in there dirty galleries and miss hung giclee print exhibits, and if the Pavilion actually focused on making money instead having inter-office shananigans.

Larry Toll (1/2 CEO of the Pavilion) said that the problem is people can’t find the VAC because the escalators were never put in. Well jinkies, Larry, after 14 years, you would think you would get around to it instead putting bandaids on the problem (I think the city budgeted for the escalator installation in 2015).

Personally, I think it is time to end the contract with the WP’s management company and find a new contractor. And just so we can hold someone accountable for the several financial mis-steps that have been happening over the past 14 years, I suggest a FULL forensic and financial audit of the place before we hand them their pinkslips. Remember the finance and operations director have been there since day one . . . Hmm.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”Albert Einstein