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In Response to COVID-19 Virus, Pablo Center Cancels Events Through April 14 [UPDATED]

V1 Staff

Image: Pablo Center at the Confluence
Image: Pablo Center at the Confluence

The Pablo Center at the Confluence will be closing its doors for the coming month in response to the coronavirus pandemic, a move that will cost the arts center and its constituent groups an estimated half million dollars, Executive Director Jason Jon Anderson announced Friday morning.

The closure, effective at the end of the business day Friday and running through April 14, will impact 29 performances, classes, and special events at the Pablo Center, some of which may be rescheduled. It follows on the heels of the statewide public health emergency declared Thursday by Gov. Tony Evers because of the COVID-19 virus, and is based upon advice from the Eau Claire City-County Health Department that all events with attendance above 250 people be canceled, Anderson said. Because of the large capacity of the Pablo Center’s two main theaters, it would be too challenging to limit attendance at events to less than 250 people, Anderson explained, so the decision was made to cancel all events, regardless of size.

“I understand that this is dynamic public health situation,” he told reporters in a prepared statement. “The well-being of artists, patrons, and staff will always be paramount in my mind. Please have some patience and empathy for those businesses, industries, and livelihoods being affected by this continuously changing environment.”

People who have purchased tickets to the canceled events will be given four options:

 • Moving the tickets to a rescheduled performance.
 • A potential ability to watch a live stream of the concert or event.
 • Donating the value of the tickets back to presenting group or Pablo Center.
 • Receiving a full refund.

Ticket holders for the modified events will be contacted electronically, Anderson said.

An estimated $300,000 of the half-million-dollar financial impact will be felt directly by the Pablo, while another $200,000 will hit the nonprofit arts groups, such as local theater troupes, that use the facility, Anderson said. “We’re going to see our local arts community dramatically impacted with this, because they don’t have the flexibility to reschedule as much as what we would see with our national performing tours,” he said.

Nationwide, the entertainment industry is taking its hardest hit since the Great Recession of 2008, Anderson said. While the advice to shut down events larger than 250 people will hurt many parts of the industry, there is a silver lining, he said: “The good news is that it should help support local musicians and artists so that you can go to your local coffee shop, local restaurant, small venue theaters, and continue to see incredible entertainment.”

Nonetheless, Anderson predicted challenging time for entertainment, art, and hospitality-related businesses. “Other groups are going to be able to continue to function, but I think I would be remiss to say that this is going to have a tremendous impact on all of our local art constituents – artists, sculptors, painters,” he said. “If people can support the local art scene in any capacity, there is no more dire time than now to do so.”

Anderson said that the Pablo Center will be happy to oblige customer who wish to get refunds for their tickets, but it would also be grateful to those customers willing to convert their canceled tickets into donations to the Pablo Center, which is a nonprofit, or to the other arts groups that use the facility. “Anything that can be done to help us bridge this gap as we go through 30 days of no operations or revenue generation would be exceptionally generous and encouraged,” he said.

Ticket holders with questions are encouraged to contact the Pablo Center box office at boxoffice@pablocenter.org or 715-832-ARTS (2787).

From the press release ...

STATEMENT FROM JASON JON ANDERSON 
MARCH 13, 2020

There is nothing more important to us than the happiness, health, safety, and well-being of every person who comes through our doors.  The well-being of building- partners, patrons, artists, and staff will remain our absolute top priority. 

Yesterday, Governor Evers declared a Public Health Emergency for the State of Wisconsin.  The Eau Claire County & Eau Claire City Health Department, has recommended that all events over 250 attendees be canceled through April 14th, 2020. Effective immediately Pablo Center at the Confluence will be closing the building and modifying all 29 performances, scheduled classes, and special events through April 14, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 virus. County and City health officials stress that the threat to local citizens from this virus remains LOW. 

Please know we are working with artists, presenters, promoters, agents, and constituents to quickly provide you with renewed options to see the world-class talent we have curated for you this spring.  These 29 performances equal over $500,000 of revenue to our vibrant local arts community.  We thank you for your patience and your understanding as we work through each individual show to ensure the best options to present to our ticket holders.  All ticket holders for each individual performance will be contacted electronically in the coming days to share the ticketing options available for each unique show and event.  These options could include: 

 • Moving the tickets to a rescheduled performance;
 • A potential ability to watch a live stream of the concert or event;
 • Donating the value of the tickets back to presenting group or Pablo Center;
 • Receiving a full refund.   

Refunds will be processed automatically for credit card transactions or via mailed check for cash purchases by calling the box office.  Pablo Center’s box office will be available via phone in spite of the building being closed and can be reached at 715.832.ARTS, again 715.832.2787.  Pablo Center at the Confluence and Visit Eau Claire Experience Center will close at end of business today and stay closed through April 14, 2020 in response to this public health emergency. 

I understand that this is dynamic public health situation. The well-being of artists, patrons, and staff will always be paramount in my mind. Please have some patience and empathy for those businesses, industries, and livelihoods being affected by this continuously changing environment. Be assured that all areas of the industry are working together with county-city health departments on ensuring clarity of accurate messaging and the necessary information to administer schedule changes, cancellations, reschedules, and all this information will be shared as soon as possible. 

There are so many incredible things to come from Pablo Center and we look forward to sharing those experiences with you later this spring. 

Lasker Jewelers
Lasker Jewelers

Pulling Together Partners

The following organizations are currently supporting Volume One’s work in the community during the pandemic:

Lasker Jewelers

L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire

Downtown Eau Claire Inc DECI

University of Wisconsin Eau Claire

Pablo Group

Wisconsin Independent Network

Middle West Management

Bon Iver

Royal Credit Union

Silver Spring

Evergreen Surgical

Charter Bank

Chippewa Valley Technical College

The Murty Henriksen Family

The Larry and Marie Past Family

The Dan and Kerry Kincaid Family

Anton and Rae Schilling-Smets

Brady and Jeanne Foust

If your organization is interested in supporting Volume One during this difficult time, nick@volumeone.orgcontact us.