Hilton Head Institute's ImagiNATION series moves venues

tbarton@islandpacket.comOctober 8, 2013 

The Hilton Head Island Institute

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A lecture series planned for Hilton Head Island later this month has been moved from the Coastal Discovery Museum to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina because of lower-than-expected ticket sales.

The Hilton Head Institute's ImagiNATION event also has been shortened from full-day to half-day programing.

The series will be Oct. 24-26. Each day of the series will focus on a specific topic, such as education, technology and creativity.

Keynote speakers will include: former Facebook marketing head Randi Zuckerberg, sister of founder Mark Zuckerberg; author William Paul Young, who wrote the spiritual novel "The Shack"; education expert Tony Wagner; and motivational speaker and former quarterback Tom Flick.

Institute executive director Jack Alderman said the series was moved to accommodate a smaller-than-expected turnout. Organizers had planned to set up a tent village at Honey Horn, site of the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head, to accommodate 500 to 1,000 people. Current ticket sales suggest about 300 to 350 people will attend, Alderman said.

"As good stewards of the institute's resources, we have decided to right-size the venue and provide the best experience possible for attendees," he wrote in a letter to institute founders and friends. "In addition to moving the venue, we have tightened the programming so that each day's activities will take place during an extended morning session, rather than providing for a lunch break. We believe this arrangement will be more attractive to patrons, as it makes better use of their time."

The program days and themes remain the same, Alderman said.

Seating, however, is now limited with the move to the Arts Center, which can seat 350.

"We're about two-thirds sold out," he said Wednesday. "We expect to fill the Arts Center."

Alderman said it was difficult for organizers to accurately predict how many people would attend because this is the event's first year.

"We booked Honey Horn to stay on the safe side and always had the possibility of moving if needed," Alderman said.

He dismissed the notion of losing attendees to the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d'Elegance, scheduled for Oct. 25-27 on Savannah's Hutchison Island and Nov. 2 and 3 on Hilton Head.

"There's no competition. It's a different crowd, and (I) don't think there's any issue there at all," Alderman said. "We are excited to see how people respond. We think it's going to be a wonderful program."

General admission is $80 per day or $200 for all three days. Tickets can be purchased at imaginationhhi.com.

Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/IPBG_Tom.

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