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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Artful Giving: The Paramount Center, Bristol, Tenn.

Paramount Center for the Arts, and Executive Director Merle Dickert (inset left).
Paramount Center for the Arts, and Executive Director Merle Dickert (inset left).


Executive Director Merle Dickert says:

These are challenging times for the Paramount, as I imagine is the case for most — if not all — arts organizations. As a non-profit performing arts organization, we have certainly been impacted by the poor economy as we have seen some decline in ticket sales, charitable giving and sponsorship dollars. This also directly impacts our ability to market the theatre through traditional advertising methods, primarily printed promotional materials. The financial situation remains at a critical point, but we have tightened our belts and streamlined the costs of operations wherever we can. We continue to look for every opportunity to cut costs.

This past spring, the Paramount made a strong appeal to the public for support, stressing the fact that the historic venue is non-profit, that it depends primarily on contributions from private citizens, business leaders, our cities and our state governments, and that the Paramount must have this support in order to continue as a valued regional asset. We are grateful for the response and encouragement, and we will continue soliciting for support, operating more efficiently, requesting grants, and using more electronic marketing and promotions methods.

We have cut our budget considerably by offering fewer Season Shows. However, the quality of performance has not suffered. In fact, I think that artists and artist representatives have become more creative; and, as a result, our audiences report they are excited and satisfied discovering lesser-known, newer performances.

The Paramount has five regular employees. Part-time technical help is hired on an as-needed basis, depending on individual productions. We are unable to hire additional employees at this time. We surely value our strong corps of volunteers a great deal.


An interesting thing about the Paramount: Many other performing arts organizations use the Paramount as their stage on which to perform. If the theatre should cease operations, these groups would be greatly affected. You can help the Paramount as well as the community by attending live performances at the theatre. An added benefit: you are also feeding the body's desire to learn through experience artistic expression, motion, sound and beauty.

Symphony of the Mountains, Kingsport, Tenn.