Back story: What it takes to renovate and rename a concert hall

Posted on: March 24, 2015

“Barbara Walters never expected a role in the renaming of Avery Fisher Hall. But it turns out that Ms. Walters, the ABC News broadcaster, was a crucial go-between who helped engineer a relationship” that led to David Geffen’s recent $100 million naming gift to Lincoln Center, writes Robin Pogrebin in Monday’s (3/23) New York Times. “ ‘You could say I was the matchmaker,’ Ms. Walters said…. Walters had introduced her friend Mr. Geffen, a Hollywood billionaire seeking to turn his philanthropic attention to New York, to her friend Katherine Farley, Lincoln Center’s chairwoman…. At the time, Ms. Walters said she thought Lincoln Center might consider naming its improved fountain plaza after Mr. Geffen in exchange for a gift. But Ms. Farley ultimately had bigger plans.… [Geffen’s] $100 million to Lincoln Center equals the largest cultural renaming gifts, matching one from the oil-and-gas billionaire David H. Koch toward renovation of the New York State Theater, and another from the Wall Street financier Stephen A. Schwarzman to finance work at the New York Public Library. Proportionally, though, the Koch and Schwarzman donations covered much larger percentages of those projects. Lincoln Center still has a long fund-raising road ahead.” The renovation is expected to cost $500 million.

Posted March 24, 2015