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Changes Loom At South Jersey Arts Center

By David Madden

ELMER, NJ (CBS) – There’s financial trouble down on the farm, and it’s causing the people at the Appel Farm Arts & Music Center in South Jersey to cut back their operations a bit.

When you lose a million dollars over three years, you start to examine your priorities. Such is the challenge facing Executive Director Loren Thomas, who took over just five months ago.

While the main operations — summer music camp and outreach services — are going well, other parts are not.

“We did have to prune, you know? Like you have to take a tree and prune the part that’s not bearing fruit to be a healthy tree,” Thomas said.

So they’ve ended an agreement to manage the Landis Theatre in Vineland. And the farm’s summer concert festival, which itself lost $50,000 last year, is “on hiatus.”

“Everything is increasing in cost, most dramatically the art, the talent. So we just simply haven’t made it pay for itself,” Thomas said.

The festival might be back, if they can find sponsors and less costly talent to perform.

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