Tacoma’s historic theaters officially have new management.
The city of Tacoma’s Venues and Events executed a 11-year agreement with venue management company ASM Global this week in the amount of $2.4 million.
“We are pleased to welcome the proven experience of ASM Global to steward Tacoma’s treasured theater district facilities,” Tadd Wille, deputy city manager for the city of Tacoma, said in a news release. “We look forward to working closely with the organization and local leadership to elevate the experience for all theater audiences, arts organizations, educational partners and promoters, while increasing activity and investment in our theaters and the vibrant arts and cultural sector in Tacoma.”
ASM Global was selected through a competitive bid process and is responsible for the day-to-day operations, maintenance, finances and programming of the city-owned Pantages Theater and adjoining Jones Building, the Rialto Theater and the Theatre on the Square.
“We are deeply committed to delivering numerous positive impacts for the local communities, partners, and guests we serve worldwide,” said Bob Papke, vice president of theaters for ASM Global. “We’re excited to bring ASM’s extensive resources to Tacoma as a worldwide leader in live entertainment content and programming, sustainability, diversity, and look forward to driving additional economic impact for the region.”
The selection comes on the heels of a messy split between the city and nonprofit Tacoma Arts Live, which managed the city’s theaters for more than two decades.
Tacoma Arts Live executive director David Fischer published a letter to the public in August announcing the nonprofit would not be participating in the competitive bid process and had “lost all trust with City staff.”
Tacoma Arts Live is now focusing its attention on shows at the Tacoma Armory.
The new contract with ASM Global will have some financial benefits, according to city staff.
Of the city’s $1.4 million dedicated annually towards its theaters, $263,451 will go toward management and operating expenses, compared to $975,235 in the previous contract. That leaves $711,784 additional funds for other uses such as equipment replacement and capital improvements.
ASM Global has a portfolio of more than 300 venues worldwide, including 80 theaters. Locally, the Lynnwood Convention Center and Accesso ShoWare Center in Kent are part of that portfolio. The company is currently recruiting for management, operations and event jobs for Tacoma.
The theaters will re-open this month and are home to eight resident arts organizations: Northwest Sinfonietta, Puget Sound Revels, Symphony Tacoma, Tacoma Arts Live, Tacoma City Ballet, Tacoma Concert Band, Tacoma Opera, and Tacoma Youth Symphony. The theaters also host workshops for Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) and performances by international touring artists and productions.