The turnaround of the Performing Arts Center of Wenatchee since Matthew Cadman took over a little over a year ago has been startling.
The former educator came in with a crystal clear game plan: Every show sponsored and every seat filled. He and his team have delivered on that promise, getting all 13 shows in the current season fully sponsored and selling out all but two performances so far. They've blown away previous attendance records in the process.
A cornerstone of that strategy is the Spring Fling, in which PAC supporters spend a few hours previewing potential shows for the coming season and signing up as sponsors. That effort was launched last year and in 90 minutes, a diverse lineup of 13 shows was fully funded. Those sponsorships allowed the PAC to cut ticket prices in half which increased attendance. It has also given the PAC the ability to donate the space to some worthy civic events, Cadman told me.
Like his father Dr. Ed Cadman, Matthew is a guy with great passion, big vision and an iron determination. At Spring Fling, he told supporters that if shows weren't sponsored, the PAC wasn't going to book them. Previously, the PAC had booked shows and then tried to go out and get sponsors. That was not successful. His new approach created instant community buy-in in a big way to the point that PAC now feels like it is owned by the community rather than just some place to go and see a show.
On March 22, the 2nd annual Spring Fling will be held on stage at the PAC and our community members will have the opportunity to sponsor 20 shows. People get creative about this. Some companies or individuals foot the entire sponsorship cost themselves while others get together with friends to jointly sponsor shows. There's no question there's a diversity of possible programming — they've got everything from the ballet Cinderella to a KISS tribute band on the list. Besides sponsoring shows, there will be opportunities to make smaller contributions to help the PAC.
People who would like to come to Spring Fling and help support what is becoming a truly great asset should contact Cadman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I stand in awe of what he and the board have accomplished and how far they can go. It's one more example of the greatness that exists in the Wenatchee Valley and North Central Washington.