Palmer Redo Rebuffed

The renovation of Palmer Auditorium into a city performing arts center -- the dream of choice of many local arts groups lately -- was dealt a hard blow last week in a report on the idea by a company of real estate analysts out of Chicago. Stein & Co. were hired by city council to study Austin's performing arts and convention facilities. In the analysis they released November 28, they said no to a Palmer retrofit, at least for now. The report notes the Austin arts as between a rock and a hard place at present: institutions growing enough to justify looking at new facilities, but not so big as to make renovation and operation of any new facility economically feasible. Among the hurdles: Securing $30 million (or more) for the redo; finding roughly $3 million annually to run the new Palmer; and raising such funds from either private sources (historically in short supply) or a fiscally strapped municipal government (not advisable now).


Sung Kwak Resigns

Sung Kwak, conductor of the Austin Symphony Orchestra for the last 13 years, announced last week that he will resign that position at the end of the current season. No official reason was given, but in recent years, the maestro has found it increasingly difficult to coordinate his schedule as a guest conductor with the schedule of the ASO. (Kwak has made appearances with orchestras in Russia, Argentina, Venezuela, and his homeland, Korea.) Kwak and his family will remain in Austin, and he will retain the title of conductor laureate with the ASO. He will also conduct four of the symphony's concerts in the 1996-97 season. The search for Kwak's successor will be, um, conducted over several years. She or he is expected to be in place for the ASO's 1998-99 season.


Shoemaker Sells

What's the hot ticket in town? A Christmas Carol? Nutcracker? Try The Shoemaker and the Elves. This quasi-seasonal show (elves, no Santa), newly adapted from the Brothers Grimm by the Children of Light Players, sold out all 11 scheduled performances before the play ever opened. (True, selling out Hyde Park Theatre isn't quite like selling out the State Theatre or Bass Concert Hall; still, when the tickets are gone, they're gone!) The rush on tix took company members by surprise, but they're coping happily, and they have added two performances, Dec 15 & 18, 9:30am, to try to meet the demand.


On the Funding Front

This is the final week to get started on the quest for city arts funding in the 1996-97 arts funding cycle. Artists or organizations wanting to apply for city funding for the next fiscal year must complete a letter of intent to apply and return it to the Parks & Recreation Department Cultural Contracts Office by December 15. Call 397-1461 for info.

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