FAQ - Foundation for the Performing Art Center - San Luis ObispoFoundation for the Performing Art Center – San Luis Obispo | To elevate the ARTS in our Community
hero image

What role does FPAC play now that the Center is built?

The Foundation is responsible for raising money from the community to support the Performing Arts Center.

The Foundation exists today to act as the community steward in the raising and responsible spending of private funds to ensure the ongoing operation and long-term success of the Center. Each year the Foundation contributes 1/6 of the Center’s total contributed revenue ($350,000 in FY2017). The City of San Luis Obispo also provides 1/6 and Cal Poly University contributes the remaining 2/3. These funds support all aspects of the Center’s operations and ensure, among other things, that rental rates are affordable for local nonprofit organizations, that ticket prices are affordable for patrons, and that the Center remains in “as-new” condition as specified in the operating agreement. In addition to providing annual operating support, the Foundation is committed to building an endowment (currently valued at about $2.4 million) to secure the Center’s future for generations to come and to raising capital funds for facility improvements and the purchase of major pieces of equipment.

Do ticket sales alone support the Performing Arts Center?

No. Ninety-percent of each ticket purchased directly supports the presenting organization, not the Performing Arts Center.

Actually, tickets sales have minimal impact on the financial well-being of the Center. When you purchase a ticket to a performance at the PAC, about 90 percent of your money directly supports the organization presenting that performance (i.e., Cal Poly Arts, SLO Symphony, Festival Mozaic, etc.). About 10 percent does go to the Performing Arts Center in the form of ticketing fees. Presenting organizations, in turn, pay a rental fee to use the Center.

Do rental fees alone support the Center?

No. Rental fees cover about 5 percent of the PAC’s annual expenses.

No. Rental fees cover just a small percentage of the PAC’s annual expenses. In fact, all of the PAC’s earned revenue combined (rental fees, ticketing fees, tech charges, etc.) cover just 45 percent of its expenses. The remaining 55 percent is contributed by individuals and businesses in our community (through the Foundation), the City of San Luis Obispo, and Cal Poly University. Furthermore, nonprofit presenters pay a deeply discounted rental fee to use the PAC, ensuring access for all.

How did the three-way partnership between the City, the University and the Foundation come to be?

The Foundation was established in 1986 to represent community interests and to raise funds from the private sector for a performing arts center. That same year the Foundation, the City of SLO, and Cal Poly University forged a one-of-a-kind partnership to accomplish what no single partner could have done alone. That partnership still thrives today, and through the Central Coast Performing Arts Center Commission (CCPACC), oversees all aspects of the Center.

What is the Center Circle and what exactly does it support?

The Center Circle is the Foundation’s annual giving program. Gifts to the Center Circle support the operations of the Performing Arts Center.

The Center Circle is the Foundation’s annual giving program. Gifts made to the Center Circle by individuals, foundations and businesses support the annual operations of both the Performing Arts Center and the Foundation. Annual contributors of $1 – $499 are referred to as Friends of the Center Circle. Annual contributors of $500 and above become members of the Center Circle and receive an array of benefits and privileges based on their giving level. It is this community support that allows the Foundation to make its annual contribution to the PAC as well as to fulfill its other responsibilities, including working closely with donors, representing the community’s interests to the Commission, raising money for the purchase of equipment and special projects, and building an endowment to secure the Center’s future for generations to come.

What giving opportunities are available?

Individuals, businesses and foundations can support the Foundation through contributions to three funds:
Operations: These are gifts made to the Center Circle and support the operations of the Performing Arts Center.

As noted above, gifts made to the Center Circle are applied to operations and support the annual operations of both the Performing Arts Center and the Foundation.

Capital:Gifts made to the Capital Fund support capital improvements and the purchase of major equipment.

Gifts made to the Foundation’s Capital Fund can be directed toward a particular project or to the General Capital Fund to be used for projects and equipment approved by the Central Coast Performing Arts Center Commission. Examples of capital projects paid for through contributions to the Foundation’s Capital Fund include: lighting, sound and electrical for the Pavilion; new state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment; additional risers; and several acoustical improvement projects. The PAC staff is in the process of updating their list of equipment and capital improvement needs. When complete it will be shared with the Foundation’s board and staff who in turn will share it with interested donors.

Endowment: Gifts made to the Endowment support operations in perpetuity.

Gifts to the Foundation’s endowment fund are given with the stipulation that the funds are invested to earn annual interest rather than to be spent immediately. A portion of the annual earnings (not to exceed five-percent) is used each year to support the operations of both the Performing Arts Center and the Foundation. The rest of the earnings are reallocated back into the fund’s principle to insure the endowment continues to grow and yield more interest for future support. The endowment is currently valued at about $2.4 million, and its continued growth is central to the Center’s long-term success and security. The majority of contributions to the endowment come in the form of bequests and other planned gifts.

What is the PAC's official name?

The PAC’s official name is the Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo.

What makes up the Performing Arts Center?

The Performing Arts Center San Luis Obispo includes the 1,289-seat Harman Hall, the 494-seat Spanos Theater, a multi-purpose venue called the Pavilion, and a 180-seat recital hall.

What goes on at the PAC?

The PAC hosts preeminent international and national performers as well as our own talented local performing arts groups. In total, it is home to more than 300 performances and events each year and more than 25 local nonprofit cultural and educational organizations from our region alone use the Center to present a wide variety of performances.

Is there a youth component to all of this?

Yes. Youth Outreach provides invaluable opportunities for local K-12 students to engage as audience members, performers, and investigators of the performing arts in the context of a world-class facility.  The PAC has two Youth Outreach programs.

School Matinee Performances allow students, teachers and parents the opportunity to attend professional performing arts events at the Center during the school day.  Adapted for school children of all ages, school matinees are held throughout the school year and are generally 50-60 minutes in length. Thanks to the community sponsorship through the Foundation, all school matinee performances are free for students.

Young Artists Onstage allows organizations with school-age performers the opportunity to use our state-of-the-art facility at a significantly reduced rental rate, saving thousands of dollars and giving students the extraordinary experience of performing in a world-class performance hall.
 
For the 2016 – 17 season, 8,000 students attended school matinee performances and over 6,000 children performed on stage in Harman Hall.

PAC construction FAQs

A few fun facts about the creation of the PAC.

Construction start date: March 1994
Grand Opening: September 1996
Construction cost: $30 million
Partnership and Funding: Cal Poly State University, the City of San Luis Obispo and the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center provided funds for the construction of the Center and continue to support its operating costs.
Location: 1 Grand Avenue, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, California 93407
Project Architects: Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall (DMJM) and John Carl Warnecke & Associates, Los Angeles
Original Design: Arthur Erickson Architects, Alberto Bertoli
Acoustic Consultants: R. Lawrence Kirkegaard & Associates
Construction firm: Centex Golden Construction Company, San Diego