With a new board of trustees and a new, balanced budget, the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center is getting back on steady footing after a rocky summer.

With a new board of trustees and a new, balanced budget, the Delaware County Cultural Arts Center is getting back on steady footing after a rocky summer.

New board president Ralph Hodges said the Arts Castle has had a rough two or three years since the start of the recession.

“The economy has had a major impact on all not-for-profits, because corporations have cut back on their corporate giving and individuals have cut back on personal donations,” Hodges said. “We faced declining revenue.”

Management had been more focused on increasing revenue and didn’t make enough cuts to operating expenses, resulting in a budget deficit.

“They really had started a lot of positive initiatives. However, revenue generation sometimes takes time and, unfortunately, time was running out on them,” Hodges said. “The prior board had come to the conclusion that they were going to be faced with having to close the Castle.”

Faced with the choice of finding a new direction or shutting down the arts center, the old board started seeking new board members with fresh perspectives. After voting in several new board members, the old board members, with the exception of one or two members, all resigned over the course of a few weeks.

In the last week, the board has been rebuilt back to 13 members and has undergone a reorganization.

The board eliminated 1.5 paid positions and spread the job descriptions among volunteers and board members.

With those steps, the new board avoided cutting any classes.

“If the expense structure you have is more than you receive in support, you obviously have to reduce expenses, but if the services being provided are essential to the operation of the organization, obviously, you have to get volunteers,” Hodges said.

In addition, information that had been published in paper brochures or mailed is now being moved online to save on printing costs.

“Young people today are more inclined to read things on their iPhones and other electronic things, anyway,” Hodges said. “We’re transferring the medium that we’re using for class enrollment and class brochures to an electronic medium.”

The new board also found an accounting firm willing to work free as a public service.

“The bottom line is we critically examined every expense category and we were able to get volunteers or other community organizations involved,” he said. “That’s really consistent with how the Arts Castle was originally created.”

The board hopes the new volunteer base will help give the community a sense of ownership toward the Castle that has dissipated since its opening.

“We’re really returning to our roots of a volunteer-driven organization where it’s a combination of paid staff and volunteers that are going to make the Castle successful,” he said.

The Arts Center is back on firm financial footing and any new donations or grants will be used to improve programming, Hodges said.

“The Castle is here to stay,” he said.