Sills draws curtain on Lincoln Center tenure

Former opera star resigns as chair

Beverly Sills has resigned as chair of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, effective May 1.

In her letter to the center’s board, the former opera star wrote, “As you know, for two years I have been stating my intention to resign as chairman of Lincoln Center.” Sills went on to say the back-to-back resignations of center presidents Nat Leventhal and Gordon Davis had caused her to defer her own resignation. She added, “Having been involved with the selection of Reynold Levy as our new president, I feel confident that Lincoln Center is in excellent hands, and I feel my departure can finally become a reality.”

Levy begins his tenure as president of Lincoln Center May 1.

Sills assumed the volunteer post of chair of Lincoln Center in July 1994. Since that time she has personally raised approximately $75 million and brought 20 new members to the Lincoln Center Board, including New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

Bloomberg recently slashed the city’s financial commitment to Lincoln Center’s $1.2 billion redevelopment project. At a City Council hearing, commissioner Kate D. Levin said of the project, “Lincoln Center is an example of an organization that did not have its act together to go forward with its project as planned. So we cut most of those monies.”

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani had pledged $240 million over the next decade to the rebuilding of Gotham’s arts center. Under Bloomberg’s budget, the city’s annual allocations of $24 million to the project have been slashed by up to $20.6 million each year.

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