Lincoln Center announced on Tuesday that it would use a $20 million gift from the philanthropists Lynne and Richard Pasculano to help bring back and revitalize opera, jazz, theater and dance on its campus.
The donation will help the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater and Jazz at Lincoln Center pay for some of their upcoming endeavors, such as the United States premiere of the Brett Dean opera “Hamlet” at the Met and the revival of New York City Ballet’s annual art series.
“This fund will be very helpful in making it possible for us to get our doors open as soon and as safely as we can,” said Katherine Farley, the chair of Lincoln Center’s board.
The distribution of the donation, over five years, represents an effort by Lincoln Center to forge closer ties with its constituent organizations, which are run independently. The center, which plays the role of landlord but also holds its own events and festivals, has at times competed with the arts organizations it hosts for resources.
Henry Timms, Lincoln Center’s president and chief executive, said the gift was part of an effort to encourage more collaboration and innovation across the center.
“As arts organizations, we are going to need support over time to re-emerge after the pandemic and also to be creative and to be bold,” he said. “This sort of gift builds creative confidence and allows people to take on things that are more ambitious and more rigorous.”
The pandemic wiped out tens of millions of dollars in revenues across Lincoln Center, the nation’s largest performing arts complex. While the center is planning a return to live performances this fall before fully vaccinated audiences, it is still unclear whether the public will return in large numbers.
The donation will help Lincoln Center Theater mount a new opera based on Lynn Nottage’s popular play “Intimate Apparel,” with a libretto by the playwright and music by Ricky Ian Gordon, which had been in previews when the pandemic struck. And Jazz at Lincoln Center plans to use its share to present family-friendly concerts.
Lynne Pasculano said she hoped the funds would inspire others to contribute to the “social revitalization of New York, which will spur tourism and job creation and help to equitably revitalize our city.”
“To our minds, there is no more important a time to support the arts than right now,” she said. “Our cultural institutions are New York’s very heartbeat.”