Severe Economic Times Threaten Festival:
Bright Night Seeks Community Support
┬áTo Keep the Lights Bright on New Year’s Eve
12/3/09 (Providence RI)
For almost half a dozen years, a group of local performers have been lighting up the Creative Capitol’s New Year’s Eve with song, dance, magic, story and excitement.

This year, though, the festival, which has drawn as many as 20,000 people to downtown Providence, has had its brush with the dark side of the economy.

“Mayor Cicilline and the city of Providence have been one of strongest supporters to date,” said Festival Director Adam G. Gertsacov. “But this year the state budget crisis has effected them, and therefore us, and the city is unable to provide the support they have given us in previous years. This has put the festival in peril.”

“The City recognizes the intrinsic value that Bright Night provides to our community. Over the past six years we have invested over 100 thousand dollars and provided extensive technical support. Bright Night provides our city’s artists with important work opportunities and our city’s residents access to arts experiences. We are committed to continuing to work with the organization but the success of Bright Night requires a committment from the entire community especially during these economic times,” said Lynne McCormack, Director of Art, Culture + Tourism.

Rather than cancel the festivities, the artists and performers of Bright Night are making the risky decision to go forward anyway. And they’re not raising the ticket prices either. Tickets will be available for $10 and $15, depending on when you buy them, just as they were last year.

“We are committed to making this an affordable festival”, says Gertsacov.

So how are they going to make up the short fall?

“We’re starting a grass roots 20/10 campaign to get 2010 people to give $20 and then tell 10 people. We’re making emergency proposals to corporate donors. And we’re cutting costs like crazy (even though we’ve already been operating on a shoestring.) And nearly every artist I’ve talked to has agreed to take a paycut in order to make sure the festival happens.”

Gertsacov adds ” It is a risky proposition, but life is about risk. And after speaking with a number of the performers, it seemed clear that this option is preferable to just letting the city go dark on New Year’s Eve”.

It’s the performers of Bright Night. who are taking the real risk, says Gertsacov. “Our contract has a disaster/bonus clause that states that if there’s a financial disaster, that the artist fee may be cut in order that everybody gets paid something.” adds Gertsacov. “Over the last six years, we’ve paid out over $35,000 in artist bonuses, and never had to invoke the disaster clause, even after last year’s snow storm. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make it through this year too.”

“This is one of my favorite events to perform at,” said Providence author and storyteller Mark Binder, who has performed at Bright Night for the last six years. “I bring my family and get to share my work with people who are always appreciative. Maybe I won’t get paid for my work this year, but I look at it as a contribution to my community.”

To find out more about Bright Night Providence, please visit their website at https://www.brightnight.org.

To donate to Bright Night Providence, please visit http://www.donate.brightnight.org

To purchase tickets ($10 if purchased before December 24, $15 afterwards, visit https://www.brightnight.org or call Art-Tix 401-621-6123.


Comments are closed.