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Park City Institute Is Still Active--Virtually

Park City Institute

The stage of the Eccles Center is still quiet, with no shows being hosted there by the Park City Institute.

But the Institute’s Managing Director, Ari Ioannides, said they are keeping busy, and generating revenue, with on-line shows.   Next up is a live show streaming in about two weeks.

Grammy-winning musician Suzanne Vega has appeared live in Park City for the Institute.

Ioannides said now they’re presenting her in an on-line concert, October 7th, live from New York, with an all-star band.     He said it’s a unique opportunity.        

“She releases an album on September 11, “New York Songs and Stories” which is kind of a retrospective of her career.  And they re-recorded all the albums in a small setting, sorta live, so not necessarily in front of a live audience, but they played it live, which is rare these days.  Normally, especially with some Suzanne Vega songs, they’re very produced.   What they’re doing is in October, performing live at the Blue Note, to kinda celebrate the release of this album.”

The ticket price is $20 and a handling fee.   He said you can go to “parkcityinstitute.org.” to register.   Half of the revenue from tickets goes to the Institute.

Ioannides said that right now, the reality of COVID means a struggle for live-performance-arts organizations.   

He said that the Eccles has plenty of room to host an event for 200 or 300 distanced attendees.    But the facility is held by the Park City School district, which is reluctant to bring outsiders to the campus.   Ioannides said he understands that.

He said he’s conferring with other local promoters on the situation.        

“I’m new at this.   I started in March.   So I’ve relied heavily on Brian Richards, Randy Barton, all the other execs of the performing-arts community.  And we’re all hit very, very hard.   And it’s an existential crisis, it really is.”

Ioanniddes said they’ve cut their expenses by 94 percent, and they have a staff of two including him.    They have scheduled a Main Stage season, in preparation for the time they can resume activities.     They have secured, or tried to secure, acts that they had to cancel this summer.      

“We’ve had a couple of folks call us and say they would prefer not to show.   So we’re ready, once we go to the Green level, to hold shows.  We, unfortunately, were unable to host Black Violin this summer.  We did arrange to get them back next summer.  So one of the things I miss most is the student outreach we’ve been able to do.  And Black Violein, virtuoso string performers, were planning to do a whole curriculum tie-in with student outreach, which I was excited about.   Parsons Dance was another group, we’re trying to get them back.”

Finally, we asked Ioannides if he thinks the Institute can come back from the pandemic.        

“There was a time when I didn’t think it would.  I took over.   We were financially strapped.   I would say a lot of our patrons stepped up in a big way, and either forgave loans or helped us bridge that gap.  We were also able to negotiate every bill that was due and get all those paid off.  I think we have one major bill that needs to get paid.   Other than that, we’re in pretty good shape.  We had a very large infusion of cash from about 30 of our patrons who stepped up.   We sent an e-mail out.  And then we had a donor come up and match all of those donations.”

Park City Institute Managing Director Ari Ioannides, who added they’ve also benefited from federal and state aid.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covered Summit County meetings and issues for 35 years on KPCW. He now heads the Friday Film Review team.
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