The forecast might be brighter, but the recession still hanging on for dear life.

Portland art galleries looking to the city for help (The Oregonian)

Struggling Arts Programs in Academia (NYT)

Dallas Dismays with Plans to Merge Cultural Office (Dallas Morning News)

New NEA Chairman Discusses Endowment, Economy, the Arts in First Sit-Down (NYT)

While the small sampling of recent news articles above might cause us to shiver a little more in our proverbial boots, I suggest we look beyond their initial inspirations of doom and gloom to what the recession is forcing arts administrators to do. That is, to INNOVATE. We can no longer focus on the intrinsic value of the arts to successfully secure funding for our institutions, according to Tim Mikulski, the State and Local Government Affairs Coordinator for Americans for the Arts. Instead, he is encouraging the field to focus on the economic values of culture in cities–jobs, revenue, tourism dollars that are netted because those organizations exist. Beyond this, Mikulski is asking “What argument do you find is most effective in your interactions with policymakers and funders?” This forward-direction strategizing is the very thing the arts need to emerge from our current financial straits. Those of us working in the arts and supporting its success through in these trying times should be realistic about what we can or cannot offer our constituents. At the same time, we should be uncompromising in the caliber of work we offer and in our committee to the missions that drive our institutions. 

You can read Mikulski’s entire blog post on ArtsBlog by clicking here.
On the Technology in the Arts blog, Corwin Christie
tackles Mikulski’s question in a recent post.

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2 responses to “The forecast might be brighter, but the recession still hanging on for dear life.

  1. Way to keep thinking positive. Let the dark clouds pass; and keep searching for blue skies. A recession, if kept in proper focus, can be a means of pruning off dead growth and ideas, to make room for new innovations and revelations. As one who works for the Federal Government, I strongly feel our economy needs some serious pruning.

    Ron

  2. Article in The Irish Times discusses putting a price on culture and art: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2009/0811/1224252358149.html.

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