Category Archive 'Avery Fisher Hall'

14 Nov 2014

I Hate New York, Part 1

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AveryFisherHall

“But, what has he done for me lately?” is a characteristic New York approach to memorial institutional names commemorating historic instances of philanthropy. Yet, paying off a donor’s heirs to let you take his name off the building so you can sell naming rights all over again constitutes a very special pure-New-York kind of tackiness.

New York Times:

Since its adolescence more than four decades ago, the New York Philharmonic’s home at Lincoln Center has been known as Avery Fisher Hall. Now, as the orchestra prepares for a major renovation expected to cost more than $500 million, the Fisher family has agreed to relinquish the name so the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center can lure a large donor with the promise of rechristening the building.

The unusual agreement, announced on Thursday, is a significant turnaround from 12 years ago, when the family of Avery Fisher, the music philanthropist who gave $10 million in 1973 to support the building, threatened legal action if the concert hall was rebuilt or renovated under a new name.

Lincoln Center is essentially paying the family $15 million for permission to drop the name and has included several other inducements, like a promise to feature prominent tributes to Mr. Fisher in the new lobby of the concert hall.

While the ability to raise money through naming opportunities has become a staple tool for arts organizations, perhaps no event speaks louder to its utility as a fund-raising mechanism than Lincoln Center’s willingness to pay the family of a veteran donor to step away so it can court a new benefactor.

Organizations like the Philharmonic and Lincoln Center cannot hope to raise the sums required for ambitious reconstructions or expansions without being able to dangle the carrot of a donor’s name emblazoned over the door.

“This unties the Gordian knot,” Katherine G. Farley, Lincoln Center’s chairwoman, said of the agreement. She said it was too early in the process to discuss whose name might replace Mr. Fisher’s on the building or what the price tag for such a high-profile philanthropic mantle might be.

Read the whole thing.


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