Programs & Services

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Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center - 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 and comfort.

Backstage Support:
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 Campus 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 Rosch 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 periods.

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.


Entertainment Guide:
RAC’s 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.

Combined Playbill:
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 program booklet.

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 program.

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.

Marketing Research:
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 offering.

Project/Activity/Task For RAC For T&D For
ForOpera For wnyco
Press Releases X X X X. (WNYCO)
Postcards – write, Design & Print X X (Gallery) (SofM) (WNYCO)
Newspaper Advertising – Design & Place Ads X X N/A X (WNYCO)
Radio Advertising – As required – place ads X (X) N/A (X) (WNYCO)
Email Promotion to RAC List – Create & Send X X X X. X
Bulk Mail Preparation X X (Gallery) X X

Contract Review:
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 company.

Special Events:
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.

Dallas 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.  

Major Gifts:
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.

Corporate Sponsorships:
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

Grant Writing:
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 above.

Page modified 3/19/15