Monday, November 26, 2012

New Chairwoman of SPAC Board cannot fundraise. Outrageous while they cut NYCBallet to 5 days.

New leader of SPAC's board of directors discusses opportunities, challenges for the Saratoga Springs venue

SARATOGA SPRINGS — In May, Susan Phillips Read, a justice on the New York State Court of Appeals, took over the reigns of Saratoga Performing Arts Center’s board of directors, succeeding chairman William Dake.

Recently, the Averill Park resident talked about her career, her love for the arts and SPAC’s future.

Briefly describe your legal, education and family background.

Growing up in small-town Ohio, I was taught ballet by a refugee from New York City who filled my head with visions of George Balanchine. I studied piano and voice and spent hours listening to my dad’s classical recordings of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University and the University of Chicago Law School, where I met my future husband, a native upstate New Yorker. After a short stint at the State University of New York, I worked for almost two decades in the private sector, first at General Electric and then in private practice. I joined the governor’s staff in 1995 and have been a judge since 1998, first on the Court of Claims. I’ve been on the Court of Appeals since 2003.

Judges are not allowed to fundraise for political campaigns. Are you allowed to fundraise for SPAC? If yes, do you see that as part of your job, and how will you do it?

Judges may serve as members or officers of a not-for-profit cultural organization such as SPAC. While judges may assist in planning fundraising, they may not personally participate in the solicitation of funds or other fundraising activities. They may not use or permit use of the prestige of judicial office for fundraising or membership solicitation, but they may be listed as a member or officer, including on letterhead.

Although I may not ask for donations to SPAC, there are 23 other board members and a staff who are not similarly constrained.

What was your first SPAC experience? What do you like best about SPAC?

Given my love of the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra, I was naturally attracted to SPAC after moving to the Albany area as a young married woman in 1973, when I attended my first performances. I became a member in 1977 and have donated every year since then, always anonymously until 2012 upon becoming chairwoman. I have a separate history of significant giving to the New York City Ballet and its affiliated School of American Ballet. Continued...

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