At it’s March 9 meeting, the City Council approved a $35,000 matching grant to preserve the free summer Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier, which was facing a $92,000 budget shortfall this year.
The council was responding to a fundraising call put out by the Santa Monica Pier, which produces the even which celebrated it’s 25th anniversary last summer. Pier officials had said that the TDS series was in jeopardy due to a severe drop-off in corporate sponsorships over the past two years. The series is jointly funded by corporate sponsorships and funding from the city’s Pier Restoration Corporation.
The board of the PRC voted, last week, to reduce the number of concerts from the traditional ten down to seven and to begin a two-and-a-half week community fundraising effort to raise the additional $92,000 needed to produce seven TDS concerts.
Pier officials cheered the news, Wednesday, that the City Council stepped up as the first major donor in the fundraising drive.
“I can’t thank the City Council enough for showing their support of this long-standing institution and joining us in rallying support from local businesses and individual community members,” said Kent Smith, Chair of the Pier Restoration Corporation Board of Directors. “This matching grant from the City is a great start, but it will take the support of everyone for us to raise the additional $57,000 needed to preserve TDS this summer by March 24th.”
Council Member Richard Bloom was joined by fellow Council Member Kevin McKeown in a call for community members to donate to the concerts and show their support by going to www.santamonicapier.org clicking the donate button and making a contribution.
The Twilight Dance Series showcases an eclectic mix of national and international performers, a tradition the City Council and the PRC Board both feel is important to preserve.
“I have been attending the concerts for 25 years and have seen acts from six continents except Antarctica. These concerts are a real community benefit,” resident Bruce Cameron told the City Council.
The Pier’s board of directors will decide March 24 whether sufficient funding has been raised to pay for TDS.
“I am deeply appreciative and greatly encouraged by the Council’s support. Their action sends a tremendous message to the community and we hope that local businesses and individuals will join us in meeting the challenge to preserve this one-of-a-kind community event.” said Ben Franz-Knight, PRC Executive Director.
Mirror Contributing Writerstaff@smmirror.com