ALLEN, TX – FEBRUARY 10, 2012 -- The Arts Center of North Texas Board of Directors announced today, that Mike Simpson, executive director for the past three years, is leaving his position effective February 10, 2012 to pursue other personal and business interests.
“I have never worked with a more hard-working and dedicated individual as Mike Simpson,” begins Bob Baggett, president of the board of directors. “His contributions and accomplishments to the performing arts center and park are numerous including increasing our donor base almost 10 fold with more than $2 million dollars in gifts and pledges; creating an engaging marketing platform and leveraging his relationships to bring together arts organizations, business leaders and advisors to multiply advocacy for the project. Circumstances outside of our direct control beginning in 2010 led to the change in the structure of the project that will now require a major shift in direction in our efforts to achieve success. I know Mike will remain a strong advocate for the long-term vision of the Arts Center,” continued Baggett.
Mike Simpson stated, “Although much progress was made toward a groundbreaking, what was not achieved was major multi-million dollar philanthropic gifts or corporate naming rights to be the catalyst for fundraising. If you look at the AT&T PAC, Bass Hall, Long Center in Austin, Kaufman Center in Kansas City or Dr. Phillips Center in Orlando, each had a major naming gift that kick started the project.
“We faced the Perfect Storm; the ACNT could not start construction without 100% of all the funds in hand, the economy did not improve, Owner City Frisco put the project back on the ballot which resulted in revoking their ability to sell the $16.4 million in bonds and the fact that existing arts centers are facing financial problems.
"I believe that once the public could have seen the project come out of the ground, many things would have changed. This is not unique to North Texas, other arts centers around the country have faced their share of challenges, persevered and now great cultural centers are getting completed,” stated Simpson.
“I commend the Board for all they are doing to preserve the dream and vision for what will be a significant asset for this entire region. A new structure will allow more flexibility for the organization to make this dream a reality. I thank everyone for their support, belief in the project and their passion for the arts center,” Simpson added.
The Arts Center of North Texas began its fiscal year in October 1, 2011 with a six month business plan to determine the feasibility of replacing the City of Frisco’s capital investment and O&M commitments. It was operating without financial support from the Owner cities. After careful review by the Board of Directors of the efforts by staff and supporters over the last four months, it was determined the organization could not replace the City of Frisco’s commitment nor function without it. In order to preserve the capital assets of the project, the Board will consider adopting a Resolution regarding the future of the Arts Center of North Texas during its February 16, 2012 board meeting.
Additional information regarding the resolution will be released on Friday, February 17, 2012. A date for a planned reception for Mike Simpson will be announced soon.
About The Arts Center of North Texas
The Arts Center of North Texas (formerly the Arts of Collin County) is a nationally recognized, innovative, public-private partnership to develop a 100+ acre arts park. Co-owned by the cities of Allen, Frisco and Plano, with operational support by member cities, Fairview and Melissa, the development of the arts park is supported with public bond monies, Collin County Open Space Enhancement funds, and additional financial support from private individuals, corporations and foundations. Located ˝ mile east of Custer Road on the Sam Rayburn Tollway (Hwy 121), the arts park will be completed in phases, with a 2,100-seat performing arts hall, performance meadow, and hike and bike trails included in Phase One. To learn more, visit the www.artscenterofnorthtexas.org or call 214-495-5810.