Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

HACC to end long-running “Live at Rose Lehrman” performing arts series

The entrance to HACC

HACC will discontinue its long-running Live at Rose Lehrman performing arts series following the conclusion of the current season.

In March, the community college will end the 45-year-old series, which brought world-class performing artists to the college campus in Harrisburg during the fall and spring semesters.

The main factors were lower revenues and lower attendance, according to a statement today by HACC President John “Ski” Sygielski.

“The decision to end Live at Rose Lehrman was not an easy one to make,” Sygielski said. “However, it is among the many necessary steps the college is taking to be fiscally responsible.”

According to HACC, from 2009 to 2019, total expenses to present the series were $3.9 million, while total revenue was just $1.7 million. During that 10-year period, HACC contributed $2.2 million out of its operating budget to offset these losses, an average of $221,000 annually.

Meanwhile, attendance has also declined, which HACC believes is mostly due to competition from other performing arts venues in and around Harrisburg.

Live at Rose Lehrman ticket sales declined from 4,120 in 2011-12 to 1,203 in 2018-19. Attendance by students has also dropped, from 37 percent of total attendance in 2011-12 to 14 percent of total attendance in 2018-19, according to HACC.

Two support positions will be reassigned within the college, while the director position, which has been vacant, will be eliminated, HACC said.

Sygielski stressed that this decision will not affect other arts programming at the college. The Rose Lehrman Art Gallery, HACC Theatre and HACC’s academic art programs will continue, he said.

“I want to emphasize HACC’s continued commitment to the arts, both at the college and in the community,” he said.

Continue Reading