A Florida theater that made its name staging new works abruptly shut down this week and announced plans to file for bankruptcy, citing among other fiscal woes a drop in contributions from donors who fell victim to Bernard Madoff’s swindle, writes The Palm Beach Post.
Declining donations and a steep drop in subscription sales left Florida Stage with debts of $1.5-million, despite cutting more than a quarter from its $4.1-million budget.
The closure was announced Monday, one day after the 24-year-old organization, a regular winner of regional theater awards, wrapped its latest production. Staff members were told of the decision as they were striking the lights and sets Sunday night.
● The Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, closed in 2000 for what was expected to be a quick move into a larger facility, has yet to reopen and faces an uncertain future, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The museum, which operated for 21 years in a 17,000-square-foot downtown space, was to relocate to a vacant 57,000-square-foot building in the San Fernando Valley. But the foundation that ran the institution failed to raise the necessary funds–losing a $10-million gift when the donor was accused of fraud and had his assets frozen–and went bankrupt in 2009.
In April the state rejected Los Angeles’s bid for a $7-million grant to kick-start the project. However, as part of the application process, the city recruited a potential partner, the Discovery Science Center of Santa Ana, which says that despite the setback it remains interested in operating a new Children’s Museum.
● A group of volunteers is opening a gallery in a blighted section of Detroit in hopes of triggering a neighborhood renaissance like the one that art galleries created in Lower Manhattan, says the Associated Press.