April 12, 2012

'America's Got Talent' Provides Boon to Newark Arts Center

Fundraisers at Newark's main art center will get a chance to prove their talent in attracting corporate and other big donors as the institution takes main stage on NBC's popular weekly show "America's Got Talent."

In Newark, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center expects to reap substantial financial and other benefits from a new partnership with the television program.

In some ways, the arrangement creates strange bedfellows. The center is best known for showcasing ballet, classical music, and opera, while less highbrow forms of entertainment are featured on the television show.

But as "America's Got Talent" starts its 10-week production cycle at the center in July, it will help the arts center attract business during the typically slow period for indoor performance spaces.

The deal came about because the shock jock Howard Stern said he would agree to serve as a judge on the program only if the shows were taped in the New York metropolitan area.

The arts center's officials declined to say exactly how much the show's producers, FremantleMedia and Syco Television, are paying for the space, but its chief executive, John Schreiber, called the arrangement "a financial positive."

Arts-center officials also expect to get more income from the people who come to watch the show and pay for parking, food, and other items. And they're excited that they will get a chance to introduce millions of viewers to the 14-year-old New Jersey Performing Arts Center each week.

But perhaps just as important is the opportunity to attract lots of new supporters and encourage loyal donors to give more, says the center's chief fundraiser, Peter Hansen. The arts center will provide free VIP seats at the show's live weekly broadcasts for some donors the organization wants to thank for their past generosity.

In addition, Mr. Hansen says, he is crafting proposals for summer-long corporate sponsors willing to pay to promote their products and services at the arts center during the months when the talent show and other offerings will draw an estimated 20,000 visitors. The corporate sponsors, he says, will be asked to pay $50,000 to $100,000.

Send an e-mail to Holly Hall.