As we approach the one-year anniversary of A-day—better known as the moment officials at the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts decided that mouthful of a moniker was about as anachronistic as Johnny Mathis concerts (that have thankfully been phased off the schedule)—let’s take a moment for a bit of brief reflection. (A note: For those who called it The Phil, that nickname was certainly more expediant. And it's still accepted by just about everyone, including the Artis—Naples staff. Talk about something that didn't need saving.)
Did the world end?
No, thankfully, the world and, with it the Naples’ arts orbit, continues to spin.
Did Artis—Naples fail miserably? Did thousands of people pull away their support—as predicted on various websites and in the letters to the editor section of the local newspapers?
No. CEO Kathleen van Bergen told me last week that ticket sales are well above last year and that donations are through the roof. Even granting for a moment that the surge in donations was a show of solidarity by the organization’s strongest supporters (a notion van Bergen wasn’t quite willing to concede), the ticket numbers speak for themselves.
This past weekend’s concert featuring the Indigo Girls and the Naples Philharmonic, was the 15th straight sellout for a show featuring the orchestra. The rush tickets that van Bergen so heartily endorsed last year aren’t always available because people are buying out the shows well in advance.
With music director Andrey Boreyko ready to take the baton full-time next season and museum curator Frank Verpoorten beginning to bring in exhibitions of his own choosing, Artis—Naples is really now just coming into its own.
And people telling you diferent at this point don’t know what they’re talking about.