Richmond Performing Arts Alliance
600 E. Grace Street
Ste. 400
Richmond VA 23219
Mission Statement

Richmond Performing Arts Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide diverse local and world-class performing arts, transformative arts education experiences for students of all ages, and inspirational venues—all to strengthen the cultural and economic vitality of Greater Richmond.     

In addition to its comprehensive BrightLights Education Initiatives and a wide array of performances and productions, RPAA hosts a range of resident arts companies and other performing arts groups in a collaborative environment. RPAA oversees several distinctive venues: Altria Theater at Monroe Park, and Dominion Arts Center, which includes Carpenter Theatre and Dorothy Pauley Square downtown (housing Rhythm Hall, the Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse, and the Genworth BrightLights Education Center).

CEO/Executive Director Ms. Janet Starke
Board Chair Mr. Matthew J. Murcko
Board Chair Company Affiliation Troutman Sanders LLP
Contact Information
Address 600 E. Grace Street
Ste. 400
Richmond, VA 23219
Telephone 804 592-3330
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 2000
Former Names
Virginia Performing Arts Foundation2001
CenterStage Foundation2008
Richmond CenterStage2015
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expense Bar Graph - All Years
Expense Breakdown Bar Chart - All Years
Projected Revenue $1,476,817.00
Projected Expenses $1,476,817.00

Richmond Performing Arts Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to provide diverse local and world-class performing arts, transformative arts education experiences for students of all ages, and inspirational venues—all to strengthen the cultural and economic vitality of Greater Richmond.     

In addition to its comprehensive BrightLights Education Initiatives and a wide array of performances and productions, RPAA hosts a range of resident arts companies and other performing arts groups in a collaborative environment. RPAA oversees several distinctive venues: Altria Theater at Monroe Park, and Dominion Arts Center, which includes Carpenter Theatre and Dorothy Pauley Square downtown (housing Rhythm Hall, the Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse, and the Genworth BrightLights Education Center).



Richmond Performing Arts Alliance - Our Work


RPAA supports today’s artists by cultivating diverse arts experiences.

328,118 patrons were entertained, educated, and enlightened during the 2016-2017 season by our dozen resident performing arts companies, world-class commercial touring acts and JAM Theatrical’s Broadway in Richmond, as well as RPAA’s own Wells Fargo OnStage Family Series and other special programs such as Alternate Routes: A Night in New Orleans featuring Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.


RPAA nurtures tomorrow’s artists through programming and experiences that deepen their connection to the arts.

More than 40,000 educators, artists, students, and parents have been reached through our BrightLights Education Initiatives since their inception in 2009. During the 2016-2017 school year alone, nearly 3,100 students, educators and family members participated in BrightLights Education Initiatives through artist residencies in the classroom, performance-based learning events and other programs. Our Initiatives provide arts education for students of all ages: from Pre-K students developing early literacy skills through the arts, media arts programs and experiential performance opportunities for secondary and college students, to professional development for teachers and teaching artists.


RPAA provides spaces for the arts to thrive by supporting Richmond’s premier historical venues.

570 performances, rehearsals, and community events were offered to the community at Dominion Arts Center and Altria Theater during the 2016-17 season. Dating back to the late 1920s, these theaters have been a part of Richmond’s history for generations, and RPAA is dedicated to ensuring that future generations will enjoy their grandeur as well. The Carpenter Theatre is the perfect venue for our local performing arts organizations, and Altria Theater is the largest theater between Atlanta and New York.


Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (RPAA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies upon nearly 70% of contributed revenue for its annual income. Our education programs are provided largely at no cost to students or schools, so as to eliminate barriers and increase equity in access to the arts for all. Since 2009, we have served more than 40,000 students, teachers and families. Altogether our artistic programming, educational programs and special events are funded largely through generous support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and government grants. RPAA's ability to foster a lifelong engagement in the performing arts is dependent upon private support from all these constituents. 

 RPAA's priority needs are:

  • Funding for our BrightLights Education Initiatives
  • Growing our Endowment, to support overall operations
  • Technology upgrades for our Digital Arts Lab
  • Support of artistic programming efforts

Since 2009, RPAA has served more than 1 million patrons and transformed the lives of tens of thousands of students. However, our history goes back to 2001 when a group of community leaders had the vision to create an inspiring environment where the performing arts could flourish and strengthen Richmond’s cultural, social and economic vitality.

The downtown performing arts complex, now known as Dominion Arts Center, was the dream of many, including arts organizations, business groups, community leaders and countless citizens across Central Virginia. With their support, the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation formed in 2001 to make this dream a reality. After careful planning, aggressive fundraising, and continued development, we purchased the former Thalhimers department store property adjacent to the historic Carpenter Center, which originally opened as Loew’s Richmond Theatre in 1928. Our name then changed to Richmond CenterStage Foundation in anticipation of the new performing arts complex. After more than a year of construction, the Thalhimers side of the property had turned into Dorothy Pauley Square, and the newly renamed Carpenter Theatre had undergone a complete renovation. The entire complex opened as Richmond CenterStage in September 2009. The complex includes Carpenter Theatre, Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse, Rhythm Hall, Genworth BrightLights Education Center and the administrative offices of RPAA, Richmond Symphony, and Virginia Opera.

Two years after opening Richmond CenterStage, we expanded our family of venues to include the then-named Landmark Theater, formerly “The Mosque.” In 2011, the then 89-year-old theater began a once-in-a-lifetime renovation from top to bottom. After completion of the renovation in 2012, the venue was renamed Altria Theater in recognition of the tremendous support from Altria Group, Inc. In recognition of additional support from Dominion Resources, Inc., the Richmond CenterStage complex was renamed Dominion Arts Center in 2015, which facilitated the rebranding of our organization to RPAA. Although the name changed to better reflect our organization's activities, we continue to work to support today’s artists by cultivating diverse arts experiences, to nurture tomorrow’s artists through programming and experiences that deepen their connection to the arts, and to provide spaces for the arts to thrive by supporting Richmond’s premier historical venues.

Today, our mission remains the same, but we are no longer a single venue downtown.  The new name reflects the inclusive impact we aim to achieve in the performing arts community and the region as a whole.

CEO Statement We are proud to be a part of a thriving performing arts community for the Greater Richmond region. Since our opening in 2009, we have felt the call to be a catalyst and convener for the performing arts. This takes shape in a multitude of ways--by supporting and advocating for the nearly dozen resident companies who call our venues home; in implementing our own comprehensive BrightLights Education Initiatives that aim to apply the arts to teaching and learning across the curriculum; and doing all we can to preserve and maintain these beautiful venues. We feel strongly that the arts have the ability to help transform communities and we are a willing participant to effecting more positive change.  
Areas of Service
Areas Served
Metro Richmond
Richmond, City
Chesterfield County
Hanover County
Henrico County
Goochland County
Powhatan County
New Kent County
Our primary constituent is Richmond Public Schools, however we have long served and worked with the surrounding counties. In addition to our more extensive programming for Richmond Public Schools, we work with Chesterfield and Hanover counties throughout the school year. We have historically worked with Henrico County Public Schools as well--through artist residencies in the classroom and professional development for teachers. 
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Matthew J. Murcko
Company Affiliation Troutman Sanders LLP
Term July 2017 to June 2018
Board CoChair
Board CoChair Mr. Rodney T. Willett
Company Affiliation Impact Makers, Inc.
Term July 2017 to June 2018
Board of Directors
Board Members
Mrs. Christie-Jo Adams Richmond Public Schools
Mr. Barry Brockwell ABC Supply Corporation
Ms. Sharon Dabney-Wooldridge The Kleane Kare Team
Mr. David Gallagher Dominion Payroll Services
Ms. Suzanne L. Gardner Wells Fargo
Mr. Scott Garka Richmond CultureWorks
Ms. Natalie Garramone The Frontier Project
Mr. C. T. Hill SunTrust Bank, Mid-Atlantic, Retired
Mr. Justin Laughter Threshold Counsel, PC
Mr. Scott Meier Deloitte LLP
Mrs. Morenike K. Miles Dominion Energy
Mr. J. Robert Mooney Mason School of Business, College of William & Mary
Mr. Matthew J. Murcko Troutman Sanders LLP
Mr. Joe L. Murillo Altria Client Services
Mr. Tyrone Nelson County of Henrico Board of Supervisors
Mr. Kelly O'Keefe VCU Brandcenter
Mr. Tom Osgood Xenith Bank
Mr. Randall S. Parks Hunton & Williams
Ms. Laurie Perper Bank of America, N.A.
Mr. W. Jerold Samford Troutman Sanders LLP
Mr. Kim Scheeler Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce
Ms. Lisa Sims Venture Richmond
Mr. Robert C. Sledd Governor's Office
Mr. James E. Ukrop First Market Bank
Mr. J. Saunders Wiggins CFP, AIFThe Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc.
Mr. Rodney T. Willett Impact Makers, Inc.
Mr. S. Taylor Williams Spy Rock Real Estate, LLC
Mrs. Ting Xu Evergreen Enterprises
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 1
Caucasian 22
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 20
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 56
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 100
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 10
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 7
Standing Committees
Development / Fund Development / Fund Raising / Grant Writing / Major Gifts
Board Governance
Community Outreach / Community Relations
Other Boards
The tables below contain information about other groups that advise this nonprofit on operations and projects.
Executive Director
Executive Director Ms. Janet Starke

Since 2009, Janet Starke served as Director of Education for RPAA (formerly Richmond CenterStage).  In November 2015, she was selected to lead the organization as Executive Director.  For nearly 20 years, she has administered arts education, artistic programming and otherwise worked with senior management at performing arts centers and other arts organizations in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Memphis and Nashville. In arts education programming, she designed and implemented professional development for teachers and teaching artists for the successful implementation of arts-integrated curricula supported by artist residencies. For these, she has secured grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. Department of Education. A native of Richmond, VA, she holds degrees in Arts Administration from Shenandoah University and the University of Cincinnati. Janet currently serves on Virginia Commission for the Arts’ Area V General Operating grants panel, is in the middle of a three-year term on Americans for the Arts’ Education Council, and has previously served on grants panels for Virginia Commission for the Arts’ Artists in Education, The Kennedy Center’s Partners in Education, and the U.S. Department of Education. She has presented nationally at conferences and symposia, including those of Arts Education Partnership, Southeast Center for Education and the Arts, Arts Schools Network, U.S. Department of Education, Americans for the Arts, and National Arts Marketing Project.

Senior Staff
Mrs. Abbi Leinwand Haggerty Director of Development
Ms. Janet Starke Director of Education
Full Time Staff 7
Volunteers 500
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 50
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan? Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy Yes
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Richmond Performing Arts Alliance (RPAA) is home to nearly a dozen professional local arts groups, known collectively as our Resident Companies.  These Resident Companies include: Elegba Folklore Society, Richmond Ballet, Richmond Symphony, Quill Theatre, School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC), Virginia Repertory Theatre, Virginia Opera, Modlin Center for the Arts, The Richmond Forum, Latin Ballet of Virginia, and City of Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities.
It should also be noted that the organization known as Richmond Preforming Arts Center (RPAC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of RPAA.  RPAC is responsible for the ongoing operations and facility management of RPAA venues.
Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce2017
Best Recreational Entertainment or Hotel Project AwardGreater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate2010
Award of Merit--Renovation/RestorationMid-Atlantic Construction2009

RPAA is committed to presenting first-class artists from around the world and around the corner. RPAA is home to twelve resident arts companies and also presents national and international artists including well-known artists such as Tony Bennett, James Taylor, Bale Folclorico da Bahia, Patti LaBelle, and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. RPAA is unique in its operation as a private-public partnership and strives to serve its community in the best way possible.

 As we plan our programming for each season, RPAA is mindful of the barriers to access that we must address so that each citizen of our region has the opportunity to experience the transformational power of the performing arts.  RPAA's goal is to make the arts as widely accessible as possible while providing high-quality performances, workshops, and classes.


Population Served General/Unspecified
Short Term Success In 2017-18, RPAA will (again) present our OnStage Family Series showcasing our local and regional artists that complement other offerings of our resident arts organizations. We also often partner with our resident arts groups and other community organizations, to co-present artists and other special programs. These artists often provide educational opportunities, such as master classes, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops that are recorded and/or live-streamed through the capabilities of our Digital Arts Lab. Providing opportunities for non-traditional audiences to experience rich cultural and family programming is a primary goal of our ongoing efforts.
Long Term Success

RPAA's vision is to be a catalyst for first-class, dynamic, creative and vibrant performing arts in the Richmond region. In fact, RPAA is an experience -- not just a place. This differentiates us from other performing arts organizations. Our mission encompasses the entire region and its citizens. In achieving our mission-based vision we partner with other professional arts organizations to bring new audiences to Dominion Arts Center and Altria Theater, and to bring RPAA's programs to a variety of places and spaces in the broader region. 



From 2009 - 2014, RPAA served as a catalyst and funder in the design of several comprehensive arts Partnerships, which brought together arts partners and seven surrounding school systems, to create programs that uniquely applied the arts to new methods of teaching and learning--spanning grades Pre-K through 12. While those programs saw many successes, we also found challenges in implementation, including our ability to most effectively balance depth vs. breadth across the region. As a result, our programs and services were restructured in 2015--some continuing as they did in the "pilot" phase, others phasing out, and still, others being restructured in terms of delivery methods to the schools. As a result, current programs and services include:

1) ELLA (Early Literacy Learning through the Arts) - artist residencies that use performing arts strategies to teach literacy skills to Pre-K students.
2) K-12 Artist Residencies - with a focus in middle and high schools (in school-day and after-school settings), residencies stem from our earlier work in developing artistic and academic skills in students but are specially-designed to meet the articulated goals of the teacher.
3) Performance-Based Learning Events - include opportunities for students to learn about the arts (including careers) such as Chat-backs, master classes and lecture-demonstrations with touring artists. These are often live-streamed and/or recorded for online distribution to schools. PBLEs also provide student performance opportunities in our venues, such as "Bardathon", (annual collaboration with Quill Theatre). We also provide subsidies to underwrite rent/production costs for school systems to produce culminating events (i.e. district-wide festivals). 
Additional PBLEs for families include our OnStage Family Series and our bi-annual LightsUp! Youth Open House.  
4) Professional development (PD) - we provide a range of PD for teachers and artists in effective strategies for teaching in and through the arts.
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Budget $219,055.00
Short Term Success
Through this program, teachers are learning more, ways of teaching (what they already have to teach) through the application and integration of the arts. Short (and long)-term success will be indicated through the increased frequency in using the arts in daily teaching and teachers' articulated results in student achievement (including acquisition of developmental skills).   
We also aim to achieve greater equity in access, as continuing and new partnering schools demonstrate increased opportunities for learning in and through the arts. 
Long Term Success

It is our intent that, like similar models across the country, these programs demonstrate how the building of community – artists, educators, businesses, government, and philanthropies – can best leverage differing resources to develop effective programs that lead education reform and nurture a future workforce. Our overarching goal is to increase equity in access for students of all ages, with an emphasis on supporting education reform through the increased dissemination of best practices in applying the arts to more effective teaching and learning across the curriculum. 


The Digital Arts Lab serves as a through-line in all our education programs, providing capabilities for online tools for use in the classroom and at home. It also provides capacity for disseminating content to classrooms and homes, via live-streaming and recorded events. Most principally, it provides unique workforce development skills for young people through hands-on instruction in video production--students learn all aspects of camera set-up, shooting, editing and uploading for use on the web. Many of our graduates have gone on to film studies programs across the county and to work on film sets. 

Population Served At-Risk Populations
Budget $70,000.00
Short Term Success Short-term success is seen in each year's classes of students. As our course is certified by Virginia's Department of Education, high school students are eligible to receive Independent Study credit. Many of our students stay in our classes for 1-2 years and later serve as interns (during or between academic years at college/university). They are the primary content creators of a growing library of online resources. 
Long Term Success Through these efforts, our goal is to develop a digital library of resources for teachers and families--to be utilized locally, regionally and nationally.  
Fiscal Year
Projected Revenue $1,476,817.00
Projected Expenses $1,476,817.00
Endowment Value $2,602,313.00
Spending Policy N/A
Form 990s
IRS Letter of Exemption
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$258,030$1,751,575$14,015,050
Individual Contributions$3,201,845$2,776,558$648,897
Investment Income, Net of Losses$368,211$269,994$456,387
Membership Dues------
Special Events($210,532)----
Revenue In-Kind$131,992$102,249--
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$1,720,520$1,518,075$1,775,145
Administration Expense$269,394$358,518$456,107
Fundraising Expense$682,542$248,885$338,924
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.023.768.78
Program Expense/Total Expenses64%71%69%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue20%5%2%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$115,951,272$109,413,700$100,441,611
Current Assets$3,044,918$14,613,471$7,810,301
Long-Term Liabilities$15,760,926$6,672,144$5,841,799
Current Liabilities$3,009,969$2,929,112$648,850
Total Net Assets$97,180,377$99,812,444$93,952,962
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.014.9912.04
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets14%6%6%
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitaions Permit
Solicitations Permit
Solicitations Permit 11/2016View
Organization Comments

In reviewing the 2015-16 Audit, please note that net support and revenue was $40,389. This is a result of $5,155,864 combined contributions, grants, program revenue, and earned income reduced by $5,115,475 loss in equity of affiliates. These affiliates were organized as a taxable limited liability partnership for third-party investors to invest in limited partner equity interests and receive Federal Historic, New Market, and Virginia Rehabilitation Tax Credits. These investments provided significant funding for renovations of Carpenter Theatre and Altria Theater.

Foundation Comments
  • Financial information provided from audited financial statements.
  • Audited financial statements and IRS 990s prepared by Keiter, Stephens, Hurst, Gary & Shreaves.
  • Revenue from "Individuals" for FY 2011 includes additional support from corporations and foundations.
  • Revenue from "Individuals" for FY 2010 includes support from corporations and foundations.
  • "Other" revenue for FY 2011 includes a forgiveness of liability to Broad Street CDA.
  • "Other" revenue includes "equity in losses of affiliates."
  • Revenue from "Foundations and Corporations" for FY 2009 also includes governmental support.