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Letters: Taking Exception

Commentary overlooked Kimmel's contributions

In his June 1 Critic's Notebook column, "To the drawing board, $300 million later," Peter Dobrin posed the question "Where is the outrage?" regarding what he views as the Kimmel Center's failings.

Reading his commentary, I felt outrage all right, but not at the need to tweak some debatable acoustical and physical deficiencies in the magnificent place but, rather, outrage at his smug, self-important observations that totally ignore the fact that this $300 million structure has created a sea change for the people of the region.

I have unbridled respect for Dobrin as a columnist and commentator, but he totally ignores the fact that the Kimmel Center is home to more resident companies than any other in the nation.

He downplays the fact that it has recently increased its endowment to $72 million, has totally paid off its debt and projects a surplus at this year's end - an amazing feat for a fledgling art center of its kind.

Dobrin conveniently leaves out the fact that a million people cross its threshold annually and it brings 14,000 children each year into its arts education program.

He appears to be ignorant of all of the exciting programming Kimmel offers that was not available six years ago. He could have learned of all of these successes by merely going online at



By the way, I have never attended a performance at the Kimmel where the artist on stage and the audience were anything less than thrilled at the experience.

Midge and I attended the Bruce Hornsby/Ricky Scaggs concert on May 31, and both the performers and audience were blown away by the sound.

Moreover, I have seen everyone from children to sophisticated arts aficionados come into the center and say "Wow!" at first glance and gawk at its soaring grandeur.

The Kimmel Center has served as a catalyst for Philadelphia's Avenue of the Arts and the remarkable transformation of our city. It has driven more than $407 million into the region's economy.

I urge the people of our region to tell Dobrin in no uncertain terms that the Kimmel Center is a great civic achievement, which has given us more than our money's worth.

Gov. Edward G. Rendell