Way to go, Washington

Published 1:19 am Thursday, May 26, 2011

I’ve always been proud to call Washington my home, even during the five decades spent living elsewhere. Its natural beauty, charm and the warmth of its residents have earned it a good reputation all across the state.
Now, added to that, I can brag on how well you respond to appeals for timely financial assistance for the arts. We’ve been telling all who will listen during the past 60 days that the Turnage Theater, the jewel of Washington’s downtown, needs help, now, in order to proceed with booking its fifth season. The good news is that our goal of $78,000 is so close that one more good gift will push us over the top.
And Bill Lord, our vice president, has used his computer skills to provide us with some other encouraging information. We’re close to raising in five months what we raised in 12 months in 2010. Average contributions have grown from $168 to $208. Forty-four new contributors have been added to our patrons, and 193 who gave last year have not yet given in 2011 but are likely to do so. They’ll certainly be asked. Already this year, 406 persons have contributed versus 555 people contributing in 2010. People across Beaufort County and neighboring communities are being generous in giving to keep the good shows coming to the Turnage.
Also, our vice president performed an analysis on the cost of shows and gross sales for the past three seasons, providing more indications the Turnage is moving in the right direction as to the quality and variety of its offerings. We’ve gone from nine profitable shows in 2008-2009, to 10 in 2009-2010, to 18 in 2010-2011. That’s almost doubling our positive financial results in just two years. Of course, ticket sales do not pay all our bills. We’ll always need gifts from our government bodies, individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations. That’s the nature of nonprofits, but they sure do help. They are a good barometer of whether or not what we’re providing is what the public will support.
Stay on the alert for our summer shows, and watch for an announcement around July 1 of the shows lined up for the upcoming season. Then, treat yourself to one of our season ticket packages and help the good ship Turnage sail smoothly into the fall.
Conversations with the City Council, local banks, leading corporations and foundations are ongoing. We hope to have more good news to share with you shortly about the results of those conversations.
If you’d like to make a gift to the Turnage, give us a call at 975-1711 or send it to Turnage Theaters Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 276, Washington, NC 27889.
Thanks again for making us proud to call Washington home.
Note: The Rev. Dr. Charles Smith is president of the Turnage Theaters Foundation’s Board of Directors.