Old School Square
Started 1 petition
Save the heart & soul of Delray Beach: Old School Square Center for The Arts, Inc.!
Through a unethical voting process, lack of due-diligence, and the reliance on inaccurate information, the Delray Beach City Commissioners has made the decision to terminate the City’s lease agreement with Old School Square Center for The Arts, Inc. after 30 years. Old School Square is the heart and soul of Delray Beach, and they have effectively severed the artery that keeps its heart pumping. There has never been a time in the history of Old School Square where the organization has achieved more growth and development goals than under the current leadership. OSS’s team was among the first in the U.S. to adapt, create, and implement a socially-distanced entertainment venue, allowing for audiences to safely enjoy live performances. Their efforts earned Delray Beach national recognition and garnered the interest of global performers like Jimmy Buffett, among many others. In the most difficult time in history for live entertainment, Old School Square has: Booked twice as many shows as in previous years. Show attendance is up by 1600%, ticket sales are up 134% and sponsorship is up 446% over last year and it's only in the third quarter of the year. Created a virtual music series that has been viewed by millions. Art class offerings and student participation has grown exponentially in the past year. Launched a childhood literacy program that has been distributed to more than 600 libraries nationwide and was also provided free to all Delray Beach Schools. Partnered with South Florida Children's Theater to create a virtual summer children’s camp. The Cornell Art Museum reopened, launching virtual tours and art talks, showcasing the work of celebrated emerging artists and photographers, and celebrated diversity through the arts. When the City was unable to hold the holiday village due to the pandemic, Cornell Art Museum's Director curated a contemporary holiday art exhibition that included work from artists from Louisiana, Florida, New York, and Santa Fe on an almost non-existent budget, and partnered with the Boca Ballet Theatre to display ballet costumes from fairy tales. The team has been incredibly successful in cultivating, growing and expanding Old School Square's arts, cultural, and educational programs and events for the community in some of the worst conditions possible. We find ourselves asking, “Why would our commission of elected officials make the decision to eliminate a team that has reached such unprecedented levels of success for Old School Square?" We have learned that the vote to terminate was based on compliance issues - compliance issues that were inaccurately and misleadingly presented at a City Commission meeting. We have learned that the City received all of the requested documentation required for compliance as per the City’s request - documentation that was critical to understanding OSS’s compliance and transparency, and which showcased remarkable and record-breaking key performance indicators and accomplishments from this team in what has easily been the most challenging 1.5 years in its history - but that these documents were not reviewed, presented or factored in prior to the City Commission vote on this issue. We learned that the city auditor received critical reports requested from the OSS team, but admitted to not having the time to review prior to the meeting. We learned that that same city auditor failed to mention at any point at the meeting that those documents were even received, and although Old School Square’s leadership was at that meeting to present hard copies of all of the documentation that was sent to the City Commission as a backup, we learned that the agenda item was discussed and concluded before any public comments were allowed to be made. We also learned that the agenda item was hidden within the full agenda, without even a mention of the organization that would be impacted by the discussion. The City casted a vote without all of the facts in front of them, effectively silencing that Old School Square complied with every request. The City's decision - made without cause - not only impacts the events and programming that OSS’s leadership has secured to-date, both at its arts and entertainment venues, but also impacts the community support OSS provides to Delray Beach. Old School Square is Delray Beach’s greatest economic development driver, responsible for over $100M of economic activity in Delray Beach annually. It is also the most widely attended cultural venue in ALL of Palm Beach County! We urge our city officials to do the right thing. Our community has the right to bring this issue back to vote after every single City Commissioner and the City Auditor has had the opportunity to fully review the compliance documents, and only after hearing all public comments and from OSS’s leadership team. We cannot let the soul of our community be destroyed, and we believe there is no better team to uphold the vision, mission, and enduring purpose of Old School Square than the organization that created it - Old School Square Center for The Arts! Please show your support and advocacy for Old School Square by signing this petition and demand your City Commissioners to reconsider their decision. *** Thank you for your donations! Please note any donations made through the Change.org site only supports in getting the petition out and in front of potential supporters. If you are looking to support Old School Square directly, please visit: https://old-school-square-membership.square.site/about ***