Arts

New Celebrity Series capital campaign has big goals

“We have a strategy that calls for growth and going after opportunities, and this campaign will help fuel that growth and diversity,” said Gary Dunning, president and executive director of Celebrity Series.
“We have a strategy that calls for growth and going after opportunities, and this campaign will help fuel that growth and diversity,” said Gary Dunning, president and executive director of Celebrity Series.

Celebrity Series of Boston has launched a $23 million capital campaign designed to expand its artistic reach, and it has already raised $16 million of that target. The “LIVE PERFORMANCE! Arts for All” campaign is designed to help showcase both artists’ new work and artists new to Boston, provide greater access to performances for communities of all backgrounds, and invest in technology to deepen its connection with audiences.

“We have a strategy that calls for growth and going after opportunities, and this campaign will help fuel that growth and diversity,” said Gary Dunning, president and executive director of Celebrity Series. “The campaign is meant to support Celebrity Series in all that it does, help us expand our artistic footprint, strengthen our balance sheet, and enable us to do more in the community and for our audiences over the next many years.” 

This is only the second capital campaign for Celebrity Series, which was founded in 1938. The $23 million goal will be strategically divided across three funds: $10 million will be raised for the endowment fund, which will help ensure Celebrity Series’s stability and raise its overall endowment to $15 million. A separate $5 million will be raised for an innovation fund for performances and initiatives that are new to Celebrity Series or to Boston. Finally, the organization aims to raise $8 million over three years for operating revenue that will go toward booking performances, commissioning new work, and growing ticket-access community programs. 

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Dunning — who describes himself and the organization as “big believers in strategic planning” — says he is excited to see such a daunting project come together. In a less pragmatic sense, Dunning is thrilled to bring “the simple joy of live performance” to more people in the area. 

“I’d like to provide opportunities for audiences to broaden their cultural aesthetic and experiences so they’re better equipped to make choices as to what’s possible, as opposed to the ‘been there done that’ mentality,” he said. “It’s not about having more sellouts; it’s about that sense of energy that happens when great artists inspire and enrich us. That can happen at Symphony Hall, it can happen in any theater in town, and it can happen on any street corner with a painted piano.” 

Robert Steiner can be reached at robert.steiner@globe.com.