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The art of teamwork – 15 arts groups join forces

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RALEIGH, N.C. – Aiming to capitalize on a major exhibit of the works of French artist Auguste Rodin, five museums and 10 performing arts groups in the Triangle are collaborating on a regional arts festival.

Festival Rodin, the biggest exhibition of the artist’s work in the U.S. in the past two decades, drew 16,000 visitors in the first week after its April 16 opening at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh.

Traffic since then has averaged about 10,000 visitors a week and is expected to exceed 200,000 by the time the exhibition closes Aug. 13, says Jeannie Mellinger, the festival’s general director.

The festival is a partnership of the museum, Capitol Broadcasting Co. Inc. and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes Nonprofitxpress.

Capitol Broadcasting and the Fletcher Foundation each contributed $50,000 to the festival, and the city of Raleigh contributed $100,000.

The Rodin exhibit is being used to promote arts within the region, and organizers hope the festival can be a model for future collaborative efforts in the region.

“I hope we’ll have, led by the Art Museum, a major exhibit every three years or so,” says Jim Goodmon, president of Capitol Broadcasting and of the Fletcher Foundation. “This needs to be a regular event.”

The festival has hired Chapel Hill consultant Peter Smith to prepare a study of the festival’s economic impact on the region.

“We hope to know by the end of the summer if the advertising effort related to the exhbition and surrounding events encouraged people to come to the Triangle and participate in events in addition to the exhibition,” says Mellinger, former director of community development and public affairs for the American Dance Festival.

The News & Observer in Raleigh contributed advertising worth $40,000, and the Herald-Sun in Durham contributed advertising worth $20,000.

The festival includes 117 pieces, the bulk of them from the Iris and Gerald B. Cantor Collection.

A festival “superpass” is available that admits a visitor to all the museums and can be used for a 10 percent discount for some performance by the participating arts groups, as well as for purchases in museum stores and other activities.

In addition to the Museum of Arts, groups participating in the festival include:

* N.C. State Museum of Natural Sciences

* N.C. Museum of History

* Museum of Life and Science

* Exploris

* American Dance Festival

* Carolina Ballet

* Artsplosure

* Best of Broadway

* National Opera Company

* North Carolina Symphony

* North Carolina Theatre

* Opera Company of North Carolina

* PlayMakers Repertory Company

* Triangle Opera

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