The Marcus Performing Arts Center announced on October 22 the launch of its Raise the Curtain Campaign, an interactive fundraising campaign that will invest in, preserve, and expand the Marcus Center’s work during the pandemic.

As part of the campaign, the community can establish their own lasting legacy by naming a seat in Uihlein Hall, the venue’s main performance space.

The Marcus Center has experienced a 75% revenue loss due to capacity limitations and cancelled performances. Physical distancing reduces the capacity of the Center’s theaters to 30%. Performances, like concerts and Broadway shows, are not economically viable and will not return until the Center can operate at full capacity.

The uncertainty and social distancing guidelines also hold true for the Center’s resident companies including the Milwaukee Ballet, Florentine Opera, First Stage, Black Arts MKE and the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra. As a result, the Center waived all rental fees associated with cancelled performances for these organizations. More than 700 events have been canceled from March through December.

“As the region’s hub for performing arts and culture, the Marcus Center relies on the support of our patrons and community. This support is needed now more than ever, as we continue to endure the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our organization,” said Marcus Center President and CEO Kendra Whitlock Ingram. “Through the Raise the Curtain Campaign, we will ensure the viability of the Marcus Center for our community and our artists.”

Funds gathered through the Raise the Curtain Campaign will preserve the Center’s continued legacy of fiscal responsibility, offset lost revenue as a result of COVID-19, and enable the organization to emerge stronger and more prepared to serve our resident partners and the community.

New investment in the Center’s physical spaces will enable the Center to better serve the community when it is able to reopen and expand the ability of the Center and its resident companies to continue uniting the community through the arts. A robust state-of-the-art livestreaming technology will provide the tools to reach beyond the walls of the Marcus Center and create opportunity for more patrons to enjoy live performing arts events.

In appreciation of philanthropic support, ranging from $600 to $5,000 to the Raise the Curtain campaign, patrons will receive a special opportunity to name a seat in the Marcus Center’s newly renovated Uihlein Hall. Recognition will be elegantly engraved on a plaque affixed to the arm of a seat in the area of their choice – orchestra, mezzanine, loge, or balcony.

“We are thrilled to provide a way for our patrons to leave their own legacy on the Marcus Center, through the naming of a new seat in Uihlein Hall,” said Kendra Whitlock Ingram, Marcus Center President and CEO. “We are providing a unique opportunity for the community to create a lasting memory that all can see when we return to live performances in the beautiful, newly renovated Uihlein Hall.”

The launch of the Raise the Curtain Campaign follows the Center’s recent announcement of the re-envisioned Campus Master Plan. With the emergence of COVID-19, this Spring, the Marcus Center embarked on a process to re-envision the plan. Renovations within Phase One will take place over the next six months.

The campaign will take place over the next two years and has a goal of raising $9 million in support of the Marcus Center. To date, the Center has raised 46% of this goal.