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The San Diego Performing Arts League recently announced its first-ever San Diego Theatre Week. Set to take place Feb. 22-28, the event’s been making local headlines as dozens of theater, dance and music groups gear up for their first major collaborative effort meant to further brand San Diego as a cultural destination.
The league, a membership-based nonprofit that services performing arts groups through marketing campaigns and by operating as a ticket vendor, is also getting ready for the grand opening of its new ArtsTix Ticket Center inside Horton Plaza Park, which, after many delays, could open by the end of February or the beginning of March. The league’s also got its big annual awards show honoring performing arts volunteers on Feb. 1.
It’s a flurry of activity for the group that came to the brink of extinction in 2011. Back then, the nonprofit was unsure if its ArtsTix Ticket Center would be included in the plans for the new park, plus mismanagement led to unpaid taxes and unpaid unemployment insurance bills. Debt was piling up and the league sent an email to members in July 2011 with the the subject line, “Arts Tix may be in peril,” which was followed by an emergency meeting. At that meeting, the group considered folding for good.
The league’s current executive director, Gary Kramer, and its board president, D. Candis Paule, came in after the nonprofit had just re-emerged from its financial troubles. I met the two outside the construction gates of the soon-to-open ticket center inside Horton Plaza Park. Kramer said they’ve increased membership by about 25 percent in the last few years and recently hired their first full-time ticket manager since 2011. And when the new ticket center finally opens, they said they expect things to get even better. Even though about 85 percent of ticket sales happen online, Kramer and Paule said they expect the number of tickets sold through the new brick-and-mortar center to increase dramatically.