Ordway Center for The Performing Arts

Rating: 4.92 stars   12 reviews

Issues: Arts & Culture

Location: 345 Washington Street Saint Paul MN 55102 USA

Mission: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts’ vision is to bring the joy and insight that the arts can provide at the highest level of quality to the largest number of people we can reach. Our mission is to be a catalyst for the artistic vitality of our community by hosting, presenting, and creating performing arts and educational programs that engage artists and enrich diverse audiences.
Results: Results for the 2009 to 2010 season (our most recently completed fiscal year) follow. Building our Programs: • We expanded the number of community engagement activities, partnerships and patrons for our World Music and Dance Series: 6,871 people attended World Music and Dance Performances during 2008 to 2009; 7,981 attended during 2009 to 2010. • We held a successful Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, June 1-6, 2010, the tenth annual Festival. Two companies’ shows sold out completely. Total attendance for the Festival was 31,163. • Our Education program has expanded its bus subsidy to all school groups traveling from anywhere in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. This has increased the number of students engaged annually by the Ordway to more than 50,000. • We implemented a Summer Dance Series which runs from June 11 through August 12, part of our Ordway Outside programming. The series offers free dance instruction in a different dance form each week, followed by social dancing to the music of a live, local band. • We expanded our Campus Connections program that coordinates college curricula with Ordway programming by adding Metropolitan State University to our existing higher education partners, the University of Saint Thomas and Macalester College. Learning in and through the Arts: • During the 2009 to 2010 academic year, students in kindergarten through twelfth grade from the Twin Cities, greater Minnesota, and western Wisconsin experienced high-quality performing art performances and learned the vocabulary and cultural context of dance, theater, music, and other arts throughout the 2009 to 2010 school year. They did so with an emphasis on Minnesota State Arts Standards. • Students experienced Performing Arts Classrooms by Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance (4), Judeo-Spanish singer Yasmin Levy (1), DanceBrazil (3), Nneena Freelon and Mike Garson from the tribute to Duke Ellington entitled “Dreaming the Duke” (1), Shidara (3), VocalEssence: Witness (4), Diavolo Dance Company (3), dre.dance (4), Shangilia Youth Choir of Kenya with JD Steele (7), Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia (6), and Teatro Hugo & Ines (5). • Attendance at Performing Arts Classrooms has increased; we engaged a total of 45,446 students and their teachers during the 2008 to 2009 school year and 49,218 for 2009 to 2010. Participating schools for 2008 to 2009 totaled 272, and for 2009 to 2010 totaled 340, including public, private, charter, and home schools. • Ordway staff created an initiative to have artists and students write blogs about their work. Blogging gives artists and students ownership of their storytelling and integrates technology into their arts education. • The Ordway also engaged 1,550 student artists in art-making activities, including the ARTcontest Festival poster contest, the annual Honors Concert, and in-school residencies. • The Ordway piloted a professional development series for teachers, specific to a school location, in collaboration with the Perpich Center. Teaching artists led arts-based lessons that were followed by structured conversations on lesson format and instructional practice. Sixty teachers participated in the three sessions. Building our Audience: • We increased the number of college students attending Ordway performances through our Campus Connections program. By tracking attendance with special promotional codes, we have been able to determine that 1,706 students from Macalester College and the University of Saint Thomas attended Ordway performances during the 2009 to 2010 season, whereas only 517 attended during the 2008 to 2009 season. • We implemented an advocates program to help diversify our audience. Leaders in specific cultural communities receive discount codes and promotional materials they can distribute to their contacts. For example, Robin Hickman of SoulTouch Productions was contracted as a liaison to the African American community. • We are strengthening our season subscriber base, taking into account the decreased number of shows we had in this past season. For 2008 to 2009, we sold 7,431 season subscriber packages; during the 2009 to 2010 season, we sold 5,220 to date. Building Contributed Support: • We are building stronger relationships with existing and potential individual donors through benefits such as our Contributors’ Lounge (for patrons who contribute $1,000 or more annually), our 25th Anniversary campaign, Donor Dinners, and other insider events. • Our Development Committee added two members and has become more active by signing request letters, recruiting new donors, and holding Ordway Fan Club events. • We acquired three new corporate sponsorships last fiscal year: Wells Fargo Bank for the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival, U.S. Trust for the Donor Dinners, and Securian for the Contributors’ Lounge. • We are cultivating potential new corporate sponsors such as Delta Airlines for our Performance Season and Treasure Island Resort and Casino for the production of Guys and Dolls. • We acquired new, national foundation grants this past fiscal year including a Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation and an education grant from the Japan Foundation. • We maintained most of our foundation donors despite the downturn in the economy. • We implemented a Box Office donation request that all patrons receive when they call to purchase tickets. During fiscal year 2010 we raised over $7,000 through the Box Office. • We have further disseminated the information that the Ordway is a nonprofit organization with our letterhead and all of our fundraising communications.
Target demographics: General Public K-12 Students College Students Low-Income Communities of Color Twin Cities Metro Area Greater Minnesota Western Wisconsin
Direct beneficiaries per year: 330,000
Geographic areas served: Twin Cities Metro Area, Greater Minnesota, western Wisconsin
Programs: Our major programs include Presenting Performing Arts (Theater, World Music and Dance and the Flint Hills International Children's Festival); Producing and Commissioning New Work; Providing Learning in and through the Arts for All Ages (Ticket and transportation subsidies for pre-K-12 students, Campus Connections for college students and Community Engagement for adults); and Hosting our Arts Partners (Minnesota Opera, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Schubert Club).

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

As an urban designer and architect, I commend the Ordway Center for again providing our St. Paul, Minnesota community with its Summer Dance Series in 2012. This summer-long, weekly outdoor event is an exceptional example of community building. People from all over gather downtown in a public plaza and dance the night away to every sort of music type and ethnicity. All ages from the very, very young to teens and much, much older have a wonderful dance experience with free lesson prior to the featured live band performance. For-profit and nonprofit dance groups lead the lesson, building audience and patrons for their venues. Food, drinks, tables, chairs - every detail for a fun evening on a summer night has been well thought out - a splendid urban event that brings people together. Thank you, Ordway Center.

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

The summer of 2010 the Ordway Theatre provided a vibrant, fun, evening outdoor dance series in a downtown plaza, featuring live music, dance demonstrations and dancing by all to follow - all free to whomever wished to attend. Dances included the tango, country western / cajun, disco, ballroom, latin, etc. People of all ages and cultural backgrounds danced, watched while sipped beverages from outdoor seating / tables and enjoyed these wonderful summer events far into the evening. The following night the St. Paul Public Library featured an outdoor film of the same dance theme featured by the Ordway the night before. As the Ordway dance series progressed, people increasingly dress the part and local dance clubs / organizations provided true inspiration for mastering each dance. The Ordway Dance Series was successful on many levels - and - most importantly, as a great community builder for our lovely city, St. Paul, Minnesota. Thanks you, Ordway!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Learning to dance the tango, two step, cajun, etc.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

No changes to this St. Paul treasure!

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Rating: 5 stars  

In the spring of 2010, my Engineering Graphics and Design class collaborated with students/faculty from Macalester and the dance troupe Diavolo through the Ordway's Campus Connections program. The Ordway staff created opportunities for my students that were beyond anything I could have hoped for. My students, mostly freshmen engineering students, were given the chance to design with and for dancers. We received so much help and support from the Ordway that, despite the ambitious nature of the project, it was truly a great experience from start to finish.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my role as an engineering professor teaching the design process to my students. The Ordway gave us the chance to work with an exciting, unusual client.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have a hard time finding anything to change.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My first experience at the Ordway featured the most talented high schoolers in St. Paul. The Ordway also hosted a luncheon, for me and others in the African American community, desiring to better connect our artistic heritage. By outreaching to St. Paul’s future artistic community, the Ordway assures its sustainability and remains a forward thinking organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Open Cities

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

resource innovation.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The Ordway is a fantastic organization! I was highly involved there last Spring, both as an intern and a participant in the Campus Connections Program. As an intern in the Education Department, I saw firsthand how much effort was put into providing schoolchildren with the opportunity to attend world-class performances. I saw lots of kids awed by the beautiful theater and cheering wildly for musicians and dancers they would have never been able to see otherwise. The Education Department also does an excellent job of supporting teachers by providing them with guides to weave the performance into their curriculum.
I was simultaneously involved with a residency sponsored by the Ordway's Campus Connections program. The Ordway brought an amazing dance company, Diavolo Dance Theater, to collaborate with students at three local colleges to create a piece. I was one of three lead dancers chosen to coordinate the production. As a college student, working with a professional company developed my work ethic and technical skills, and coordinating so many dancers was a crash course in leadership. This was an immense project, and I am grateful to the Ordway for letting me be a part of it!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my life as a dancer-- being part of the Diavolo residency was an intense and meaningful experience. I've also experienced their mentorship as I launch a career in arts administration!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change anything.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I love taking my classes to the Ordway, to witness their minds and hearts open up to experience new vistas in the arts. They write about their trip to the Ordway as profound moments in their college lives when they connected to something greater than themselves, and feel very grown up for having attended something they can discuss intelligently with their peers.
When Ordway artists come to our campus, I see our students beam with joy at receiving a special program related to a concert at the Ordway, tailor-made to their studies.
This organization is a cultural cornerstone of our community!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my role as a college music teacher, providing various courses on American Music. I bring classes to Ordway concerts that relate to specific learning units. Most recently Tiempo Libre worked with our music students on the University of St. Thomas campus, in advance of their concert at the Ordway.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not change a thing!

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

What is unique about this organization?

Culturally-diverse performing ensembles of VERY high quality

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 5 stars  

A night at The Ordway is always a night to remember. I have seen a variety of shows there, both big and small, theater and concerts, and every time I leave with a contagious smile. If you go to a show be sure to take advantage of the pre and post show presentations if offered, they are always insightful!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

every show I've been to. The experience is always positively consistent.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

suggest they offer dinner and a show vouchers.

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Rating: 5 stars  

The magic that surrounds me when I walk into the Ordway is unlike anything I've experienced at an arts center. In the winter, Ordway shows like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat always leave me feeling warm in the coldest of Minnesota weather - the lights outside in Rice Park make the evenings seem endless. In the summer, performances like Singing in the Rain or South Pacific give me an extra spring in my step and a smile on my face.

The energy and life that has been thriving at the Ordway center for decades always resonates with me for days and weeks beyond my visit. My friends, family members and colleagues all seem closer to me as we share the experience. The Ordway is one of the few gems that will always keep me coming back for more!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My many experiences at the Ordway Center and as a member of the community.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Allow customers to vote on what show should be the next performance in 2012!

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Rating: 4 stars  

We love the summer activities at the Ordway. Our girls look forward to the Flint Hills Children's Festival every year and had a great time this year dancing on Thursday nights. Looking forward to more great memories at the Ordway.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the past 6 years.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

?

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I attended August: Osage County at the Ordway and it was one of the best cultural events I attended in all of 2010. Such terrific caliber of work that the Ordway brings!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

N/A

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

N/A

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Rating: 5 stars  

I teach political science at Macalester College and while teaching about South African politics, I brought my students to the Ordway Theater for a concert by anti-apartheid musician Vusi Mahasela. The staff at the Ordway made this event a success by inviting us to meet with the artists and by accommodating our limited class budget. Students recalled this event as a major highlight of the semester. I plan to enhance my political science teaching again in the future through partnering with the Ordway.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The educational experience of my students.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The Ordway is a terrific organization!

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