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CEO – Year end update

A YEAR LIKE NO OTHER

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate this holiday season, we look back on 2020―a year like no other. When it began, we were full of optimism, on track for what looked to be one of the best years in our history. Like you, we could never have imagined what the year would bring.

Now we are about to ring in a new year, and despite the many challenges of 2020, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic about 2021. We can see light at the end of the tunnel, and even though it is dim, it is visible. It is the sign of recovery, although we know we still have a long way to go.

When we closed the theaters on March 13 in the middle of a Broadway run and a robust season of classes, we quickly pivoted to remote operations and learned how to program on a virtual stage for an unseen, but appreciative, audience. One of our immediate concerns was for the thousands of students whose lives were uprooted, and working with our partners at Broward County Public Schools, we developed new online tools for at-home learning. In every aspect of our business, we found ways to provide lifelines to our community through the arts.

Here are just a few highlights:

In Programming, we created BrowardCenter@Home, an online arts hub, and launched a series of livestream events that connected artists with audiences and offered performance opportunities for local performers. And now, we’ve reimagined live entertainment for this era with Backlot Live, an outdoor concert experience starting in January.

In Education, we reenvisioned our award-winning Student Enrichment in the Arts (SEAS) program for a virtual realm, providing online experiences for more than 58,000 students this fall with performances and lessons that engaged and inspired. We’re especially proud to have welcomed Grammy-nominated Black Violin back to the theater to record a virtual show that will be seen by hundreds of thousands of students across the country.

Looking at our Community Impact, we launched the All Abilities Series with free, virtual programs for our special needs audiences, staying connected to some of the most vulnerable among us. And we’ve started new work in the area of social justice, looking at the many ways the arts can be an accelerator of social change and equity in our community.

At Parker Playhouse, construction continued on pace for our exciting renovation, and plans are underway for a grand reopening when we can safely welcome audiences in 2021.

On Our Road to Recovery, the Broward Performing Arts Foundation established a fund, needed now more than ever, to ensure that the Broward Center will have the necessary financial resources in the months leading up to and following a full reopening. Our resilience and readiness will depend on this vital support.

Our Partners at Cleveland Clinic came on board to help guide us in the development of health & safety guidelines essential to reopening. And so many of our sponsors, donors, and public partners have steadfastly stood by us, knowing that the lights at the Broward Center will shine brightly again.

Yes, there is cause for optimism. We’ve learned through this unimaginable time how important the arts are in keeping us connected to our audiences, to our friends, to our families. And we thank you for being part of the Broward Center family.

Wishing you the best for the holidays and a safe and healthy New Year,
Kelley Shanley
President & CEO

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