Thursday, February 14, 2008

Arts Advocacy Update XXIX

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv.

Graying of arts audience a concern
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/1/2008

"Graying audiences are a problem for nonprofit arts and entertainment groups nationwide, but the problem gets magnified in Allegheny County, the second-oldest big county in the country.... To tackle the problem, City Theatre and other arts groups are developing whole new ways to market themselves, using text messaging and other technology to reach young fans; devising ways to make arts experiences unique; and providing ticket discounts, networking opportunities and a splash of booze."
What is that, the Theater of Enabling? Shoot, sign me up.

Aspen short on money for the arts
Napa Valley Register (CA), 1/31/2008
"After seven public meetings and scores of surveys and in-depth interviews, some 700 people have had a hand in drafting a four-year plan for the arts in Napa County.... The draft plan got its final public airing Jan. 23 in a meeting that drew more than 100 people — including three mayors and a county supervisor — to the Napa Valley Opera House CafĂ© Theatre for a two- hour strategy session." The county’s newly-formed Arts and Culture Commission will meet on meeting Feb. 5 to begin the work: "prioritizing the many ideas included in the arts and culture plan."
Slippery slope? No, no, seriously, this is great to read.

Plan to boost California's arts budget dies in committee
Los Angeles Times, 2/2/2008
"The latest bid to get California's semi-starved state arts-granting agency off its five-year subsistence diet has died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Backers said the bill would have secured $30 million or more each year for the California Arts Council, which has operated on $3 million to $5 million annual budgets since 2003 after peaking at $32 million in 2001."
This is so ridiculous. In San Francisco they could ask every homeless person for a dime and they'd raise this much money. Californians should be completely and utterly ashamed of their stupid and ignorant government. Man, Spielberg could spit from one corner of Hollywood and Vine to the other and raise this money -- or write a check.

Arts Groups Expect Pain, Seek Early Deposits, Donors
Bloomberg News, 2/1/2008
"[W]orried as the U.S. stock market continues to slide and the Federal Reserve tries to ward off recession," arts organizations around the country "are searching for new donors, convincing major supporters to contribute more, cutting costs and diversifying investment portfolios to protect their endowments. Donations to the arts trail gifts to religious groups and educational and health-care institutions. Arts groups fear the pain will be worse in a recession."
Smart move. Better to be prepared than caught unawares like during (and before) the last recession.

Bracing for Tough Times
Chronicle of Philanthropy, 2/7/2008
"The faltering economy is starting to affect a growing number of charities and the people they serve. In recent weeks, nonprofit organizations have heard from donors who are putting off big gifts, and some groups that rely mostly on small donations have also seen a falloff. . . . Giving to arts groups tends to experience bigger gains during good times and harder crashes during bad times."
Of course, this is rather than response to the link just above, isn't it? Funny how that dynamic works.

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