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Introducing: Sara McCown, Director of Development

How do not-for-profit theaters and organizations stay afloat? Very tenuously.

off the WALL Productions is Pittsburgh’s smallest Equity theater. Each season, it is with great grit and sheer tenacity that they are able to share with audiences the talented writers, performers, designers and technicians that live inside and outside of the ‘Burgh. But audiences today are hard to find and even harder to keep. Ticket sales make up only 20% of a production’s budget. How does one stay afloat?

Sara McCown, Director of Development at off the WALL Productions, works closely with Assistant Artistic Director Erika Cuenca to find the right grants and fundraising opportunities that will sustain the company’s heartbeat while speaking to its artistic mission: producing works by women and minorities, with creative teams made up of women and minorities. Grants and personal funds have been a huge help throughout the years, but the most recently awarded AIM grant is offering more than just funding.

In 2018, off the WALL Productions was invited to participate in the 2-year Arts Innovative and Management program offered by Bloomberg Philanthropies. With this generous grant, participants are led through a management training program, primarily developed by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, to improve fundraising, increase audiences, engage board members and develop strategic plans.

This September, off the WALL will be embarking on year two of the AIM grant program. In the interview below, Sara McCown speaks on the valuable tools and opportunities the company has been afforded and what she hopes to see more of in off the WALL’s future.

Want to learn more about how to contribute to off the WALL Productions? Click here.


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