State Theatre is on the right track for 2016

Posted by on Jan 23, 2016

By Steven Barker | Posted in the Culpeper Times: Saturday, January 9, 2016 5:58 pm

I am personally writing to you to let you know our progress of the Save the State campaign as of Jan. 6 as well as our intent to continue the fundraising campaign beyond our initial deadline.

As of this date, we have raised more than $250,000 in contributions and commitments. While this may not be the full amount we hoped to have by this point, there is more success behind this campaign than just the dollars.

In the 52 days since we have begun this campaign, we have:

» Opened dialogues with elected officials, learning and affirming the avenues of support available to us while respecting residents’ wishes and our pledge to not seek a direct handout of tax dollars.

» Obtained public support from: the Town of Culpeper, Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, Culpeper Renaissance, Inc., Culpeper Tourism, Culpeper County’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Culpeper County School Board.

» Formed a working group with Visit Culpeper VA, Culpeper Renaissance Inc. and local businesses to promote 2016 programming and our local economy.

» Received numerous testaments on the value of the State Theatre from citizens who see the theatre not only as a cultural asset, but a cornerstone of present and future economic growth.

» Identified new revenue streams through educational programming, which in turn enables the State Theatre to apply for grant support in the coming year. The educational programming includes field trips, community classes and literacy residences.

» Reviewed operational costs, identifying ways to reduce the theatre’s utility costs. Outlined new revenue streams to offset overhead, by partnering with local businesses who are interested in co-locating space within the State Theatre, while offering additional advertising and community support.

» Identified and recruited, as of today, five energetic potential new board members including Deanna Folin and Joseph Wills, who believe in the vision and mission of State Theatre, as well as in-kind board development services to ensure the board’s focus and success as the fundraising arm for the State Theatre.

» Recruited new development staff with Amy Bowling as development director and Laura Loveday as grant writer. Both are proven assets to the Culpeper community and have offered their services to our sustainability efforts.

» Dialogued with several large corporate donors who were unable to assist the Theatre in 2015 as their 2015 philanthropy budgets were closed in October, prior to the start of our Save the State campaign. They have expressed their confident ability to give to our campaign were it able to continue into January 2016.

What we have accomplished in the short span of six weeks is a testament to your belief and many others in our mission, vision and necessity to the community. In addition to the above items, I have been offered and accepted the opportunity to transition from the campaign chair and events and outreach coordinator to the executive director of the State Theatre as of Jan. 4. I am humbled by the board of director’s faith in my abilities to lead the organization to its full potential.

All of these items offer us a firm reason and belief that if we continue into 2016, leveraging our current support, that we can complete our fundraising effort for 2016 and begin a well-conceived path to sustainability for subsequent years. To this end, we have already contacted all of our donors with the above information and received encouragement to continue our campaign.

In addition to this action, we have diligently prepared a new and thorough business plan that strategically lays out our steps over the next year with tools and benchmarks to measure our progress and success.

A core part of this plan includes using January to “go dark” in terms or major programming and to review, reflect upon, and restructure the organization on both staff and board levels. We will also undertake facility maintenance while developing all of the programming opportunities we have announced over the last six weeks.

Our plan is to reopen in February with a Spring 2016 season that will bring quality offerings that are accessible and inclusive to the region. With our determination and your continued moral and financial support, we will take the first steps to strategic sustainability.

To paraphrase a well-known philanthropist, “We do not plan for failure, only success.”

If you would need any further information, I will be happy to meet with you. Please contact me at to arrange a time.

Steven Barker, Save the State campaign chair