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Rockefeller Arts Center
- SUNY Fredonia
Profile of Operations, Services and Programs
RAC maintains the facility master calendar, scheduling 140-160 public events annually
plus an estimated 800 rehearsals, set-up or maintenance “events.” Scheduling is done
through a priority system involving four priority groups, with the academic arts departments
comprising the first group. RAC coordinates scheduled events with the campus master
calendar through the computerized Event Management System (EMS). All requests for
holding events in RAC should be directed to Operations Manager Eric Hadley at 673-3218.
The client base consists of academic departments, administrative offices, student
organizations, and a variety of community groups including three local dance studios
(for their annual recitals), two local school districts (for annual high school commencement
ceremonies), the area BOCES (for in-service days), and others.
RAC provides house management and ushering services for all public events in the facility.
Included are ticket taking; coat check; concessions; and audience seating, safety
RAC provides direct supervision of all lighting, sound, and other technical and equipment
set-up needs of the events in King Concert Hall and Marvel and Bartlett Theatres.
For events produced by the Department of Theatre and Dance, RAC signs out equipment
only; as the department’s own faculty and students take care of their technical needs.
For the School of Music, RAC provides basic supervisory personnel, and for outside
groups (rentals) RAC provides supervisors and student crews, with the costs billed
back to the user.
Ticket Office Oversight:
The SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office is a separate business entity under the administrative
oversight of Rockefeller Arts Center. The ticket office provides ticketing and customer
service not only for events in Rockefeller Arts Center’s three performance venues,
but also for Rosh Recital Hall, activities in the Williams Center and other campus
locations. The Ticket Office also sells bus tickets for regularly-scheduled service
on Greyhound and Coach USA, and serves as a charter bus agency for student groups
and other organizations planning off campus excursions. In cooperation with the Division
of Student Affairs, the Ticket Office also charters buses to Binghampton/NYC/Long
Island for term breaks, hires monitors and sells tickets for the same. Starting in
2010, the Ticket Office started selling tickets to chartered airport/train shuttle
service at the beginning and end of each semester and on other breaks and vacation
RAC serves as building-wide liaison to the college maintenance and operations department
and plays a significant role in scheduling and deployment of cleaners and custodians
throughout the building. The Rockefeller Arts Center technical director and his staff
provide routine maintenance services for theatrical lighting equipment, dimmers and
stage rigging. RAC also advocates for and helps coordinate building rehab and renovation
projects, and will play a central role in the on site coordination of contractors
and user groups with the forthcoming $36 million building addition.
RAC’s semi-annual calendar of events includes all performances and exhibits in the
facility, as long as the information is received by the deadline, regardless of sponsor
and at no charge.It is mailed to over 5,000 patrons and recent ticket buyers, with
additional stacks placed at strategic locations around campus and in the community.
Combined Subscription Campaign:
RAC conducts an annual direct mail campaign, soliciting both renewals and new subscribers
not only for its own series (World Travel, Kaleidoscope, Pops) but also for the Theatre
Department's Mainstage Series and the Fredonia Chamber Players concerts and the annual
Hillman Opera. This program went to the “Mix and Match” format in the 2009-10 season.
Although this project used to be done on a cost-sharing basis, it is now done with
RAC picking up the expenses, as an additional way of providing support to the primary
resident producing groups.
RAC solicits ads, typesets and coordinates production of playbills for Mainstage,
Pops, Kaleidoscope, the Hillman Opera, and the Fredonia Chamber Players Sunday Classics
concerts. There are 15 (+/-) issues annually with a total circulation of about 16,000.
the Mainstage Series (a project of the Department of Theatre and Dance) the playbills
are done for shows in Marvel Theatre only -- not for those in Bartlett. The combined
playbills allow all the producing groups to have a professional-looking program, with
adequate space for performers bios and program notes, at no cost to the performing
organization. It also allows a recognition opportunity for donors to the Friends
of Rockefeller Arts Center Annual Fund, whose names are listed at the back of each
Centralized Mailing List:
RAC maintains an 10,000-plus name interest-coded mailing list as part of an integrated
ticketing-marketing-fund raising data base. Names are added at point of sale when patrons purchase tickets and through other means
such as door prize forms used at selected events. RAC provides snail mail and email services at a free or nominal charge to campus
departments and organizations. Through sophisticated SQL queries, RAC is able to pull
"most likely" prospects for a given event based on past purchasing history, various
VIP designations, declared interest categories, and distance based on zip code.
Marketing and Publicity Services:
Through a long-standing arrangement with the campus press office, Rockefeller Arts
Center send press releases about its events directly to local media outlets. Associated
Press and campus copy style guidelines are followed. In addition to the marketing
and publicity for its own events (see the "Programming" section below), Rockefeller
Arts Center provides publicity, advertising and marketing campaigns for all events
that are part of the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series produced by the Department of Theatre
and Dance, and also the annual Hillman Opera. Direct costs for mailing and media buys
are borne by the respective department. RAC also prepares and distributes press releases
for art gallery exhibits, and takes care of mailings for Insight/Onsite outdoor sculpture
RAC makes annual financial awards from the Friends Annual Fund to the Department of
Theatre and Dance, the School of Music and the Fredonia Chamber Players to support
the Mainstage Series, the Hillman Opera and the Sunday Classics Concerts, respectively.
An annual grant is also made to the Gallery program administered by the Department
of Visual Arts and New Media.
As the need arises, RAC conducts email surveys of current and past patrons. Academic
departments are given the opportunity to have questions included. Results are tabulated
and analyzed by RAC and shared with the departments as desired. Survey results are
used in making final selections for RAC-sponsored programming and to maintain and
improve customer service. Normal frequency of surveys is two to three per year.
Individual Event Marketing:
The grid below shows the detailed single ticket marketing an publicity services provide
by RAC’s Public Relations Assistant. The expansion of services to the Department of
Theatre and Dance and the Opera occurred when the position moved from 80% to full
time in April of 2007. An “X” means that it is a service provided by RAC, however,
the expense of printing, postage, and ad space is provided by the respective department
producer. If no “X” appears, the respective department is responsible. For email
marketing, RAC has a subscription to Constant Contact, a robust email marketing system
that allows graphically-rich emails to be easily constructed and which allows tracking
of emails so we can analyze open rates, who opened emails, and what links they clicked
on. The TyTix data base is used as the source for each list, so emails (and direct
mail pieces) can be targeted to prospects most likely to be interested in a given
|Postcards – write, Design & Print
|Newspaper Advertising – Design & Place Ads
|Radio Advertising – As required – place ads
|Email Promotion to RAC List – Create & Send
|Bulk Mail Preparation
Upon request, the RAC director will review contracts from performing artists or visiting
speakers (eg for School of Music or Convocation Committee) to ensure conformity with
campus policies, sound business practices and New York State Law. Only the Director
of University Services is authorized to sign artist contracts on behalf of the campus,
so RAC provides a level of review and make recommendations for contract modifications
before contracts to that office for final approval.
World Travel Series:
This annual series features three feature length color film lectures narrated in person
by their producers. In recent years, some of the producers have visited various classes
around campus to share their expertise in subjects such as film making and anthropology.
On Stage For Youth:
Geared to school children in grades K-6, this is an annual series of performing arts
field trip opportunities featuring nine days (two performances per day) by four professional
touring companies per year. During the 2012-13 season, 5,555 students from throughout
Chautauqua County participate.
Kaleidoscope Family Series:
This family entertainment series aimed at children ages 6-10 and their parents. Shows
are about an hour long and feature a variety of arts and entertainment, including
domestic and international companies in theatre, musical theatre, music, and variety
arts (juggling, clowning, ventriloquism, etc.) Several of the groups have played on
the prestigious New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street in New York City.
DFT Communications Pops:
Initiated by RAC in 1991-92, the pops series has become RAC's flaghsip series. It
includes three concerts of lighter musical fare. Types of music presented include
jazz, big band, brass quintets, Broadway show tunes, carefully selected Baby Boomer
tribute artists, etc. The season ends with a traditional commencement-eve concert
featuring student singers, backed up by either the Western New York Chamber Orchestra
or The Little Apple Big Band, a group of professional jazz players contracted individually
by RAC for the occasion. RAC serves as producer of the commencement eve concert,
with the director of RAC recruiting faculty and staff collaborators, establishing
a theme for each concert, selecting the repertoire and deciding its order, commissioning
special musical arrangements, holding auditions, organizing rehearsals, overseeing
sound, lights and costumes, and serving as emcee for the event. The series was previously
named the “Someplace Special Pops Series “ but was renamed “The DFT Communications
Pops” series upon a signing of a three-year sponsorship agreement with this local
RAC undertakes limited presenting outside of established series, sometimes with one
or more co-sponsors, sometimes on its own. Typical special events have included military
bands (co-sponsored with the Evening Observer, and with most costs covered by the
Department of Defense) and, on occasion, other special attractions.
Friends of Rockefeller Arts Center:
RAC conducts the annual campaign for Friends of RAC, bringing in about $55,000 a year
from about 500 donors. Income supports RAC programs and services as well as the Mainstage
Series, the Annual Hillman Opera and the Fredonia Chamber Players Sunday Classics
Series and the gallery exhibit program.The campaign runs from each August through
December. This program has been in existence since 1984 and is an official sanctioned
annual campaign of the campus. All funds are received and administered in an agency
account at the Fredonia College Foundation which records all incoming gifts and prepares
the donors' official tax receipts, which RAC sends with customized thank-you notes.
K. Beal Community Access Fund
Rockefeller Arts Center is the designated manager of the earnings from this endowment
held at the Fredonia College Foundation. Working in partnership with local non-profit
agencies, the earnings are used to purchase tickets for area residents, especially
children and families, who could not otherwise afford the cost of admission. Tickets
can be bought for any cultural event, not just those sponsored by Rockefeller Arts
Center. RAC works with the development office staff to encourage additional gifts
to the fund.
The RAC director works with the College Development Office in prospect identification,
cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of gifts at the level of $5,000 and up;
these gifts are generally designated for endowment purposes or equipment purchase.
RAC works with the college's development office to coordinate solicitation of sponsorships
not only for Arts Center programs but also for other programs including the Walter
Gloor Mainstage Series. In 2007-08 this program was expanded to include three levels
of sponsorship: season, series and individual event. Lake Shore Savings has been the
season-wide sponsor since the multi-level sponsorship program began and has recently
indicated a willingness to make a three year commit.ment at an increased funding level
The RAC director writes occasional grant applications to foundations and other sources
in support of center programs and projects. Support has been received from the Margaret
W. Wendt Foundation, the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing
Arts on Tour. Grants are written for specific strategic opportunities and initiatives,
and none have been pursued in the last few years. RAC has also successfully requested,
received and managed over $50,000 in campus grants from the Williams Visiting Professor
Fund and the Karnahan-Jackson Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation.
Management and General:
RAC provides management oversight, general coordination and general record keeping
for all of the above operational areas, programs and services.
Relationship to the Arts Administration Program:
The director of Rockefeller Arts Center also serves as director of the interdisciplinary
model major and minor in arts administration. The curriculum uses courses from a variety
of departments, including Accounting, Business Administration, Communication, English,
Psychology and Philosophy. About six to ten majors are enrolled in the program at
any one point in time. The director of RAC serves as the academic advisor to the students
and as instructor of record for RAC based practica and field placement internships.
The program places a heavy emphasis on experiential learning and many of the students
do paid work on the student staff at RAC after they have completed practica assignments.
Students are involved in all four of the major program and service categories cited