On Dec. 29, six private donors paid $15 million to settle the Overture Center's more than $28 million debt.
"It was a great relief, but more importantly signaled the beginning of all the transition work that needs to be done," says Linda Baldwin, Isthmus' associate publisher and chair of the 201 State Foundation, Overture's fundraising arm.
The 201 State Foundation is now preparing to take over the arts center's ownership and management. At a meeting Tuesday night, it renamed itself the Overture Center Foundation and added nine more members: former Mayor Joe Sensenbrenner, former Wisconsin State Journal publisher Jim Burgess, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president Jim Imhoff, Exact Sciences Corp. president Kevin Conroy, Dean Health Systems president Lon Sprecher, former state Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman, current State Journal publisher Bill Johnston, Christensen Associates CEO Dianne Christensen and UW-Madison music professor Richard Davis.
The new members are heavily weighted toward fundraisers, which some council members objected to when the restructuring was debated last year. But Mayor Cieslewicz, who'll soon announce three appointees to the 21-member board, says his picks "will bring different skill sets than fundraisers."