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Cultural Impact of Wachovia Takeover

Last year Wachovia's foundation and its employees gave more than a million dollars to the Arts and Science Council, which is a major funder of cultural groups throughout the region. Without Wachovia's support, those groups are likely to see a drop in their budgets. If Citigroup does lay off a significant number of Wachovia's Charlotte workforce, performing centers, museums and galleries may suffer. "Typically 82 to 85 percent of our budget here comes from earned income sources, so we are highly reliant on the box office," says Tom Gabbard, President of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. Wachovia is also the anchor of a major cultural development at its campus Uptown, which includes a new theater and three museums. Since the arts facilities themselves are taxpayer-funded, Gabbard believes their future is secure. Less certain is what Citigroup will do with the partly-finished high-rise office building and condominiums Wachovia had planned to compliment the cultural center on its campus.