Scott Niswonger presents a $15,000 check to NPAC Marketing Director Tafi Stober Thursday. The donation from Niswonger is to fund website improvement for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Scott Niswonger presents a $15,000 check to NPAC Marketing Director Tafi Stober Thursday. The donation from Niswonger is to fund website improvement for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — The man who provided inspiration and resources for the Niswonger Performing Arts Center made a visit to the center on Thursday to announce a donation which will fund the construction of a new NPAC website. The $15,000 check from Scott Niswonger will go to pay for a website improvement.

Niswonger told a group of NPAC supporters gathered in the upper lobby Thursday afternoon that following the success he has witnessed from the website of his Greeneville, Tennessee performing arts center, when asked to help with the Van Wert PAC web project, his reply was “Yes you absolutely should have that.”

NPAC Marketing Director Tafi Stober explained that the new site will feature more items to help people purchase tickets online.

“You’ll see a lot more attention on the events themselves,” she shared. We’ll be able to showcase more media about the events: more videos, a lot more vivid photography and more images of the artists coming. Not every artist that comes here is a household name, so this way when you take a chance on an artist coming that you really don’t know, you’ll be able to come onto our site and really peruse what they are all about. And you’ll be able to hear what they sound like. Annie Moses [a band playing at the NPAC in October] is a perfect example because the music sells them. They are incredible, but you need to watch it to understand it. PBS knows because PBS has contracted with them.”



The debut of the new website was originally planned for June 11, the day the entire 2014-15 performance schedule is to be released. But it appears now that the public will need to wait until October.

The site builder builds site for major companies, especially dealing with the performing arts. Stober said, “We will be one of the smaller names in their portfolio, but we will get all of the insights and intuitive knowledge of the industry.”

The new technology will help make purchasing tickets on the NPAC website much easier, according to Stober. That will help to bring in more tourism dollars for the shows.

“In Tennessee, 80 percent of their ticket sales are website sales,” remarked Stober. “I would say that maybe 20 percent of ours are website sales. And our growth is in website sales because we are growing externally with our clients in Lima and Fort Wayne.

Niswonger brought three people from the staff of the PAC in Greeneville to Van Wert for the visit. He talked about building the NPAC just two years after the Tennessee facility was built and that the Van Wert facility benefited from some of the lessons learned in designing and constructing the Greeneville building.

“I can’t think of any other town in northwestern Ohio that has a facility where you can take a prospect, someone who might move to your community, where a mom could be taken onto a stage like this and see that her child will have the chance to play on a professional stage. This is a phenomenal facility. We build this two years after we built the building in Greeneville, and I think this is absolutely perfect,” said Niswonger. “This is just a linchpin for economic development and better education in the community.”

He expanded on the economic development idea, noting that the NPAC is a drawing card for bringing in new business.

“When a business is thinking of moving to a community, the first question should be, ‘what is the cost of the labor?’ and then ‘what are the taxes?’ And now they want to know how your schools are and what kind of career programs you have. And having this facility at the school is a real advantage.”