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New Home for New WORLD Theater

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To: Chancellor Holub From: Concerned Organizations and Partners in Western Massachusetts RE: A New Home for New WORLD Theater Date: August 15, 2009 Dear Chancellor Holub: We, the undersigned leaders of organizations and concerned individuals in the extended UMass community, request your immediate attention and action regarding the Fine Arts Center’s planned “suspension” of New WORLD Theater’s programs and operations. Your timely response is required to ensure that $419,000 of confirmed and dedicated grant resources are not recalled by national, state and regional foundations. Further, each day that passes without action risks the loss of additional pending funds. We urge you to recognize that, if the Fine Arts Center does not have the capacity to continue hosting New WORLD Theater, there may be another University department, consortium or host that can. Even with the Fine Art's Center cut, New WORLD Theater is fiscally viable, and can continue to operate, if allowed. The theater has been vitally important to us for three decades. We urge you not to let it close. We understand that the national economic situation is dire, and that the University is under tremendous pressure to make budget reductions; however, we believe that priorities and choices must be made in accordance with the University’s mission, reflect the values of this community, and be thoughtful and strategic. New WORLD Theater strongly contributes to making the University’s stated commitment to outreach and diversity a reality. New WORLD Theater’s programs have served students and regional communities of color for 30 years, have consistently brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in external income to the University, and have garnered national and international acclaim in the field of the arts. Over the years, New WORLD Theater has been an important partner to many of our organizations, and in many of our efforts to increase diversity, improve education, develop artistic practice and research, and deepen University-Community relations. New WORLD Theater has been a key partner in the development of campus curriculum, in Five College consortia committees and inter-campus collaborations, as well as local youth initiatives and meaningful Springfield partnerships. We, the undersigned partners and individuals, have had positive experiences with New WORLD Theater, and believe that its mission and work are far too valuable and important to lose. New WORLD Theater has an incredibly dedicated staff, who have remained deeply committed to NWT’s mission and work, through thick and through thin. In the last five years, NWT has thrived thanks to the vision and leadership of Artistic Director, Andrea Assaf. She and her team have successfully brokered new and fruitful foundation relationships, expanded NWT's programming to bring new and established artists to the Pioneer Valley, and brought national attention to our community and to the UMass campus. Building on its powerful 30-year history, NWT has been a leader at national tables where important dialogues on U.S. cultural policy, creative economy and diversity in the arts are happening, has led conferences featuring the most vital forces behind new forms of artistic expression, and has connected to networks dedicated to building youth capacity and participation in the arts. We call on you to pay immediate attention to this issue, and to take responsibility for ensuring New WORLD Theater’s continuation. We hope that through your leadership, NWT will be able to find a new home on the UMass campus, or off-campus with the University’s blessing. Please do everything in your power to make sure that this remarkable institution that has been so important to us for 30 years does not close.


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