Some of the greatest growth in formal arts institutions has taken place in the last 40 years. Why?
As we look at budget growth, sustainability, and growing gaps in earned revenue vs. contributed, was something flawed in this growth?
The Rockefeller Institute report on the performing arts from 1961 identified trends that sound eerily familiar today. Decreasing audience and demand, continued struggles with aging infrastructure, need for increased revenue, and new earned income were all outlined.
Ironically many of the traditional arts organizations used as baseline examples in 1961, had guaranteed weeks and production schedules that were much less then they are today. There were no 52-week orchestras nor were there guaranteed contracts, production or administrative staffing at levels that are even close to today -- even with adjustments for today’s inflation.
So why have we grown in many cases without apparent demand, but in spite of it?
The recommendations from that report advised focus in key areas, growing access and infrastructure to build appreciation and understanding and using foundations such as the Ford Foundation for growth as part of a Great Society vision for the arts.Read More