Inside The Palladium with Tania Moskalenko
Inside The Center for the Performing Arts
with Tania Castroverde Moskalenko, President/CEO
As anyone who has been anywhere in Carmel can attest, the Palladium commands immediate attention. Its classic dome sits atop a symmetrical four-sided structure with an elegant façade quarried from Indiana limestone. Built to last for the ages, the Palladium is the crown jewel of the Center for the Performing Arts.
And that’s just the exterior. Inside the Palladium’s grand concert hall you’ll experience a landmark in listening created by incredible acoustics. Think you’ve heard it all? Try any one of the 1600 seats and there’s nary a misplaced note. It’s pure unadulterated entertainment in a grand yet comfortable setting.
Across Center Green that fronts the Palladium are two equally impressive venues. The Tarkington stages drama, musicals, dance and other presentations inside a 500 seat theater. Look for comedy, dance and cabaret with flexible seating at The Studio Theater next door. Together with The Palladium, the three venues provide an infinite range of performance opportunities.
Of course, the heart and soul of any center for the arts lies in its programs, people and community outreach. Tania Castroverde Moskalenko recently completed her second year as the Center’s President and CEO and knows more than anyone the pleasures and challenges of managing a sophisticated arts organization. We sat down with her this summer to discuss the past two years and what she expects in the future.
When Tania first joined the Center for the Performing Arts in August 2012, she came by way of the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. She served a seven year tenure there as Executive Director and during that period turned an operating deficit into a surplus. “All of us in the arts are part of an international community”, Tania observes, “so I watched the evolution of Carmel’s Center with great interest. From the beginning I admired its architecture and aspirations. When I received an invitation to come here, I knew it was a tremendous opportunity.”
Tania notes that Germantown and Carmel share similar characteristics. “Both are affluent cities, both lie outside a large metropolitan area and each enjoys strong local support.” After she assumed her position here as President, did she feel a need to modify or improve? “I see my role as a community builder, a curator and a connector and wanted to learn more about Carmel. Our mission statement says it best: The mission of the Center for the Performing Arts is to welcome, engage, inspire and transform through compelling performing arts experiences in a world-class environment. That’s what I strive toward each and every day.”
With so many aspects to managing an organization this size, I asked how she prioritizes her responsibilities. “Since the Center is non-profit, I view fund-raising as one of my priorities. Our current patron base includes all 92 counties in Indiana, 49 states and 16 countries. For some reason New Mexico hasn’t bought a ticket…yet. Most of our repeat customers come from Hamilton County.”
What about competition from downtown Indy and venues like Clowes Hall? “The arts benefit when there are lots of players in the game; competition eliminates mediocrity. The CFTPA attracts world class artists and we make them accessible to everyone. Exposure to the arts is always a good thing and in this case, more is better. I believe that a high tide floats all boats.”
While nonprofit organizations are struggling nationally, the Center for the Performing Arts is thriving. Tania is especially pleased with its programs for youth. “Children become more civilized when they receive an arts education. If they choose to study one of its disciplines, whether it be instrumental or performance, they’ll carry that discipline into all areas the rest of their lives. At the Center we provide affordable tickets to students so that it costs less to bring them to a show instead of leaving them with a sitter. Student tickets are only $15 for any fine arts production, quite an incentive when you consider the price of sitters.”
Tania is also proud of a new series offered to children between the ages of one – seven. Called “Peanut Butter & Jam,” sessions encourage active and enthusiastic participation in music and dance. These informal Saturday morning concerts run about 30 minutes and are as lively as they are educational. The cost is $10 per child and parents are free, so check out the website at www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org for dates and times.
I asked Tania which shows have been the most successful thus far. “There’s no question that the Great American Songbook and Country series have attracted the largest audiences. Michael Feinstein, our artistic director, is known as the ambassador of the Great American Songbook, which features music from Broadway and Hollywood musicals prevalent in the 1920’s to 1960’s. We’ll continue to present these very popular programs as well as introduce new ones to the community. Maybe push the envelope a little bit, too.”
So the future is looking good? “I’m excited about so many performances on our 2014-15 calendar that it’s hard to know where to begin. Since I was a dancer, I have to mention a few of the contemporary dance companies. The Tania Perez-Salas Compania de Danza Contemporanea from Mexico City is visually stunning and appears in November. Another standout is Diavolo in January, whose daring performances fuse ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, martial arts and hip hop. And Samite from Uganda will perform in October…his flutes and vocals are amazing! The Center for the Performing Arts will bring many different art forms and many remarkable artists to the stage in Carmel, and all of them will be available and accessible to everyone.”
Learn more about the Center for the Performing Arts 2014-15 season performances, dates and tickets at www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org
Interview by Jackie Holloway