Many organizations that spent years building large endowments to
provide more stable sources of support have seen them decimated. A
number of our most loyal donors have watched their own investment
portfolios be depleted and cannot provide their traditional funding.
Our audience members cannot buy as many tickets as they have in the
past. And our board members are less able to involve friends and
associates in our fundraising galas and other activities.
This perfect storm has already weakened the fabric of our nation’s arts ecology. Over the past several months, the Baltimore Opera Company,
Santa Clarita Symphony, Opera Pacific, the Los Angeles Museum of
Contemporary Art and others have closed or come close to closing. There
probably will be a torrent of additional closures, cancellations and
crises in the coming months.
Of course they want a bailout but this is for me not a priority. Given the new distribution of wealth, arguably we need more culture for lower-income people and less culture for the rich. I don’t think the old distribution of wealth is coming back anytime soon.
It’s something to watch when the egalitarian and elitist tendencies of modern liberalism clash so strongly. When it comes to high culture it’s like this: "I don’t think they should have so much money, but I sure like what they spend their money on." Yet if deflationary pressures are going to benefit lower class individuals with jobs, something has to give and that is, in part, the discretionary arts spending of the wealthy.
The longer plea for aid is here. I thank Christopher Janak for the pointer.