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Big arts fundraising goals still to be met in Charlotte

ASC President Scott Provancher making a presentation on the “State of Arts and Culture in Charlotte” on Thursday morning

The Arts and Science Council has come up $1 million short in its annual fundraising campaign and has decided to keep trying for the money a bit longer. If the ASC were to end its $7.3 million fundraising campaign on Monday as originally planned, the agency's president Scott Provancher says they would not make it. "So we decided to extend the campaign for two weeks, but put a hard deadline on that," says Provancher. "Because we feel that if we're not gonna get it in two weeks, we're not gonna get in by the end of another two weeks or another two weeks after that." In the next two weeks, the ASC will push Charlotte corporations and employees at companies with workplace giving campaigns to dig a little deeper. The alternative is to force even deeper budget cuts at the dozens of cultural groups that rely on the ASC for funding each year. The ASC surveyed 23 such agencies last month and found they have already cut salaries, forced furloughs and together have laid off 9 percent of their staff in the last year. And the ASC has another, even larger, fundraising deadline looming. By the end of April, Provancher and his team hope to raise $21 million to complete an $83 million endowment that will cover operating expenses for the new theater and museums at the Wells Fargo Arts and Cultural Campus. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is part of that campus. Its president, John Boyer, told elected officials at an ASC event this morning those new facilities are in an enviable position. "Our biggest challenge - and it's the one we share with the Gantt and our great partners here at the Knight Theater and others - is the overwhelming interest in these cultural agencies," said Boyer. "So if I look tired, it's for good reason." Boyer says the Bechtler Museum, the Knight Theater and the Gantt Center for African American Arts and have welcomed a total of 77,000 visitors in just four months. The new Mint Museum will open at the campus in October.