Centrum Suspends 2020 Summer Season Until 2021

Programs Through August 2, 2020 Rescheduled to 2021.

Centrum Executive Director, Robert Birman, announced today that the organization’s traditional summer programming for 2020 is being postponed and rescheduled to 2021. This decision affects all Centrum workshops up to and including the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues festival which was due to end on August 2, 2020.

“The coronavirus pandemic and its profound economic impacts were central considerations in our decision, affirmed by both the senior staff team and Centrum’s board of directors this week,” said Birman. “We feel deeply for the artists who are overwhelmingly impacted by the current health crisis in the United States. Our thousands of guests who visit Centrum each summer as audience members and workshop participants are part of a multifaceted support system that allows many of the world’s finest teaching artists and cultural standard bearers to share their traditions in Port Townsend. The anticipated peak of the virus will occur at the same time that we rely on registrations and ticket sales. We simply can’t, in good faith, ask our stakeholders to commit to gather in such large numbers at this time.”

“As leaders in the Washington arts community, it is imperative to lead through our actions. We support Washington State’s decisive leadership on this issue. We are putting the public interest ahead of our own,” said Birman.

Rescheduled summer workshops include Voice Works, Fiddle Tunes, the Port Townsend Writers Conference, Jazz Port Townsend, and the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues festival.

Centrum is working in collaboration with its partners at the Fort Worden Public Development Authority, Washington State Parks, Washington Department of Health, and Jefferson County Public Health to respond to the burgeoning pandemic and it anticipates new locally-driven partnerships to emerge once programming can be restarted.

Birman said that Centrum is committed to attempt to present some form of programming at Fort Worden this summer if conditions permit. “We are examining alternative program options that can be implemented on short notice with a focus on providing art and cultural experiences to audiences in our region as well as support services and residencies for working regional artists,” he added. Any program announcements will be shared on their website at www.centrum.org.

Workshop participants have been offered options to shift their reservations to next summer, to donate a portion of their registrations to Centrum, or to receive a full refund.

The organization’s Communiversity arts and lecture series is continuing without interruption. Lectures are being held online until public gatherings are advisable. Its next lecture is Monday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. with Robyn Bailey, head of citizen science for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Ticket holders will be provided log-in credentials to join the event via Zoom.

Centrum’s spring and summer chamber music performances with the Miro Quartet and Callisto Trio have already been rescheduled for dates this fall and winter. Tickets for those events will be honored on the new dates. Centrum’s Choro workshop and concerts have also been rescheduled for next year. Ticket holders are being refunded.

Additionally, Centrum has placed on standby 40% of its administrative staff and production crew in response to this situation. It anticipates possible further workforce reductions in May, once immediate responses are handled to accommodate its existing participants. The organization is retaining only essential personnel on its payroll during the interim to allow it to plan and implement alternative programming as soon as is possible.

Of the two spring workshops that were scheduled for April and May (Choro and Red Hot Strings), 45% of participants have opted to shift their registrations to 2021. An additional 28% have elected to donate some or all of their registration fees to support the organization, and 27% have asked for full refunds. We are grateful for the vision and support of our Centrum communities as we plan future and alternate programming.

Further information and details can be found online at www.centrum.org, or by calling (360) 385-3102.

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