Consulting firm endorses MICA operating plan

The plan projects an annual revenue of $543,000 and expenses of $866,000.

Mercer Island Center for the Arts (MICA) released preliminary operating plan projections for its proposed facility on Sunday.

The three-year plan projects steady state annual operating revenue of $543,000, contributed revenue (fundraising) of $323,000 and expenses of $866,000, according to MICA’s press release.

MICA researched, developed and refined its operating plan from April 2014 to December 2015 in consultation with AMS Planning and Research, a global arts and entertainment industry consulting firm with over 25 years experience working with hundreds of arts organizations.

AMS’ clients have included Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York, the Sydney Opera House and the Seattle Symphony, as well as numerous community performing arts centers nationwide.

“The MICA operating pro forma is based on detailed research in the local arts and cultural sector, data from our nationwide performing arts benchmarking program and extensive conversations with MICA leadership and local user groups,” said Katie Oman, director of AMS, in MICA’s press release. “It is informed by industry best practices including conservative attendance estimates and an annual contribution to a 30-year building maintenance reserve fund. Based on the projected activity and normal industry operations, the contributed income level falls well within the expected range for community arts venues, as well as the expected parameters of a vital and productive operation.”

Plan highlights include:

• Robust usage of 241 total use days (rehearsals, performances and rentals) per performance space.

• Over 2,400 class sessions in the studios, theatre lab and classrooms.

• Over 1,500 classes/lessons in four practice rooms

• Diversified revenue: 47 percent from performance space and rehearsal rentals; 40 percent from classes and 13 percent from ticketing.

• Future MICA user groups consulted for the plan include Youth Theatre Northwest, Children’s Dance Conservatory/Island Youth Ballet, Mercer Island Visual Arts League, Music Works Northwest, Musical Mind Studio and Russian Chamber Music Foundation. Projected support for usage by the Farmers Market and the city were also included.

• For conservatism, the model does not include any income from the planned café or from any programs produced by MICA directly on an “at-risk” basis.

“Multiple organizations based in MICA will offer a wide variety of arts performances, events and classes for community members of all ages. This will diversify our revenue streams and reduce risk relative to other centers nationwide which rely on the success of one organization or are limited to a single-use facility,” said Peter Hutt, MICA treasurer. “Most importantly, arts education is integral to our mission and improves the financial results, with 40 percent of revenues coming from classes.”

The full opinion letter from AMS summarizing the operating plan is posted on MICA’s website.

For more information about MICA and additional information on the proposed facility’s projected finances, visit


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