The newly created non-profit marketing agency for Atlantic City announces CEO Liza Cartmell, a former Aramark executive, just weeks after a new head of the CRDA was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie.
ATLANTIC CITY — It may be three months past the July 2011 deadline, a date New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expected Atlantic City to get its act together with regard to attracting non-gaming industries into town, with the hopes that the resort could be transformed back into the premier tourist destination it once was — just watch an episode of Boardwak Empire and see how many shows were going on in town and who was there hanging out (Eddie Cantor, Eubie Blake, Sophie Tucker, to name a few from the period, and that's just scratching the surface with regard to the city's rich entertainment history) — but things are starting to happen with regard to Atlantic City's somewhat controversial tourism district.
(BELOW: New ACA CEO Liza Cartmell)
The latest move with regard to marketing Atlantic City's new tourism district (and hopefully the city as a whole as the city's mayor Lorenzo Langford feels strongly about) has been the creation of a new non-profit agency "dedicated to the marketing of Atlantic City and the promotion of its tourism district," according to a press statement.
"The ACA’s primary goal is to develop a marketing strategy that continues Atlantic City’s transformation into a premier destination resort," it continues.
Weeks after the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), a state funding mechanism created to divert a percentage of Atlantic City casino revenue into projects around the state, got a new chief — John Palmieri, picked and announced by Gov. Chris Christie not long before he officially announced he would not seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 U.S. Presidential run — the ACA will announce its new CEO, Liza Cartmell, at a press conference at 10am inside Boardwalk Hall this morning, Oct. 13.
Cartmell, according to reports, is an ex-Aramark executive who has experience dealing with attractions, "including amphitheaters, convention centers, state parks, and cultural attractions such as museums," according to one report.
Cartmell, whose name we will be hearing a lot in the coming months (and perhaps years) says her experience with Aramark has given her the ability to become familiar with a resort destination marketplace as well as the key figures in the relevant industries nationwide.
“My experience … has shown to me the underlying criteria of success in terms of creating an [inviting] environment and draw,” she said in an interview on Wednesday.
The portion of casino revenues the CRDA once subsidized the horse-racing industry with ($30 million annually) will now fund the ACA. Cartmell says she will use some of the funds for widespread marketing campaigns that not only focus on the city's gaming industry.
“[People] think gaming,” Cartmell said of Atlantic City's perception. “Our mission is to make people realize there’s so much more here in terms of great food, entertainment, natural settings, and a great variety of all of those.”
No word on what this means in the short-term or long-term for the Atlantic City Convention & Business Authority, Atlantic City's long-time state-funded marketing arm of the city and region.
Further, as Atlantic City Weekly has learned earlier this week that two key associates at the CRDA who were spearheading an Arts District campaign for Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown neighborhood of the resort, are both no longer with the CRDA, many — especially those local artists, residents and community leaders, including Freeholder Frank Formica who owns a bakery around the corner from Dante Hall, a church-turned performing arts center that has been closed for years, who attended a special Arts District presentation and forum at the hall in April.
There has been no word about the arts district, the artspace survey that local and regional artists were asked to take online this past spring, or about who at the CRDA is taking over the project once led by Jordan Cox and Jeremy Sunkett.
However, ArtC, a local arts organization that aims to market the region's artists with 21st century technology and a very impressive Web site, recently spoke to Sunkett, prior to this departure.
Stockton College's Noyes Museum is affiliated with ArtC and Stockton also is leasing Dante Hall to turn it back into the performing arts center jewel it had been in the mid-to-late '00s.
Caesars Entertainment president of Eastern Operations Don Marrandino is the chair of the ACA.
Here is video from that interview, courtesy of ArtC:
(Full Disclosure: AC Weekly editor Jeff Schwachter sits on the ArtC board)
What do you think about the creation of the ACA? What do you think this means for the ACCVA? And are you hoping Dante Hall opens again with a full line-up of entertainment?
Let’s call it counter-programming. While many Atlantic City news stories of late have been about the plunging revenues of Atlantic City casinos and more recently about what has been preceived in some quarters as a “slow” start to online gaming, the Atlantic City Alliance’s job is to bolster tourism in the region.
The Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) has partnered with global sports and media company IMG Action Sports to host the “DO AC Pro Beach Volleyball Invitational” from Sept. 6-8. The tournament will be the fourth of five stops on the 2013 Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) Tour that runs through mid-October, each considered to be among the most competitive beach volleyball tournaments of the year.
It’s called Il Palio, and once a year for the last seven centuries, jockeys riding bareback race their steeds through the piazza — or town square — in Siena, Italy. The ACA wants to bring this colorful event to the United States for the first time.
On Tuesday morning, April 9, the ACA, CRDA and ACCVA teamed up for a presentation at the Sheraton to unveil new DO AC spring/summer campaign and highlight other new initiatives in the city from Margaritaville to Revel's new beach bar. Watch the new ad videos here.
As New Jersey Gov. Christie might say ‘Why fly to the desert when you can Do AC this fall?’
The ACA initially had 50,000 magnets printed in multiple colors and given away at select spots like its Boardwalk and AC Expressway visitors centers, the Atlantic City Free Public Library, the Atlantic Avenue county office building and at select community centers. It blew through the first batch, had a second order of 30,000 printed up, and recently put in a third order when the second got gobbled up like 5 ½-inch round magnetized hotcakes.
Although A.C. tourism has taken a well-publicized hit based on increased competition elsewhere, funnel cake continues to enhance the saltwater air, rolling chairs move like motorized vehicles, and the resort continues to offer amenities that landlocked gambling boxes simply cannot.
The goal of the campaign is to build a year-round visitor base and shift consumer perception of the resort.
A special presentation from ArtC — an organization dedicated to promoting the arts in southern New Jersey — in partnership with the Noyes Museum of Art and Stockton College, Photo SJ 2012 will showcase two of the world’s most accomplished and respected professional photographers: John Russo and Seth Resnick.
'There's so much that's going on that's good and it really has enabled us to build a campaign that is very positive and is very upbeat and that does really talk to all of the really positive things that are going on.'
The ACA is developing a broad-based media campaign program with the intention of reaching as much as the Northeast as possible, from Boston down to Washington, D.C. It is expected to begin in mid-April.
Atlantic City is in a battle right now, fighting off competition from neighboring states and looking to remain a vibrant and ever-evolving resort destination. Many of us who are Atlantic City area “lifers” hope the changes taking place, including the plans announced by the Atlantic City Tourism District and the formation of the Atlantic City Alliance, the new non-profit organization devoted to promoting the city, will help move Atlantic City toward a major comeback.
Stockton President Herman J. Saatkamp: “For our students enrolled in programs involving the arts, the facility provides an opportunity to explore ideas and concepts in the visual arts in a manner we previously could not."
"I think that the casino [environment] is an art unto itself, with the lights and the movement, the energy. I think that affects my art, [similar to] the way cities influenced jazz. I think that compression — the mesh of people — that sort of thing brings out art within you."
The perception is that it’s all about gaming [in Atlantic City]. And clearly it’s much more than that so that’s the opportunity, to make sure that doesn’t happen."
Flanked by several paintings by local artists, Richard Stockton College president Herman Saatkamp warmed up a crowd of over 100 regional artists of various disciplines, intellectuals and public figures on Tuesday night, June 28, at Dante Hall for a presentation by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA). The evening marked the next step in creating an arts and cultural district in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City residents filled the Westside Complex auditorium to offer input to Susan Ney Thompson, interim director of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), as they prepare to take over many functions of Atlantic City's municipal government.
The mood in the room during the town hall meeting was hopeful as people identified problems ranging from parking and bike racks to training opportunities for the city's youth.
The CRDA last month authorized $70,000 for an initial study to create a “neighborhood strategy area” — designed to outline a plan to transform Atlantic City neighborhoods into an arts district and others into medical and education districts. The CRDA could begin land acquisition in the area as early as February....
"The ideal situation for any city is to create a place were people want to live, work, learn, and enjoy their surroundings. That in return will make the Atlantic City arts and education District a must see destination for visitors and tourists."
This Tuesday marked the seventh anniversary of Jeff Vasser's first day at the helm of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA). Born in Atlantic City and raised in Margate, Vasser no...
In the world of gaming, ups and downs are part of the enticement. One moment you are down to your last dollar, the next minute you hit it big. That equation can apply to a casino property as well. Tropicana Casino and Resort, celebrating its 30th anniversary in Atlantic City this month, has demonstrated that the roll of the dice can be both favorable and unfavorable over the course of decades
As detailed in the Jan. 5 Atlantic City Weekly, a state-mandated Master Plan that outlines Atlantic City’s proposed Tourism District was given a Feb. 1 deadline by Gov. Chris Christie, one year to the date he signed the legislation designed to make the resort town a safer and more attractive place to visit.
Following the July 4 “Red, White and Blue Celebration Concert” at Kennedy Plaza on Wednesday (starting 7:30pm on the A.C. Boardwalk, adjacent to Boardwalk Hall), and following the fireworks display after the concert, the Atlantic City Alliance (ACA) will debut a 3-D sound and light-projection show that will illuminate the façade of Boardwalk Hall.
Recently the ACA gave its popular DO AC magnets a holiday makeover of sorts, producing limited-edition discs with glittering metallic red, green, gold and silver backgrounds.