Well. We’re 3 weeks running on this topic! And the theatre and arts worlds are still generating thought-provoking posts to Rocco Landesman’s theory that there are too many non-profits arts organizations, and not enough demand for them.
Are the arts “urban” and “elitist” tags to blame for a lack of demand in certain areas? And the source of the financial woes stemming from the proposed NEA cuts? Scott Walters adresses this in Supply, Demand and Geography.
Leonard Jacobs calls out the sector over at the Clyde Fitch Report, reminding us that Landesman really said nothing new, and that this conversation has been going on for years. The post also has some great links to other posts on the topic!
Rebecca Novick wrote a great post over at 2AMt telling artists Don’t Start [another arts organization]. Her premise is that the arts sector is flooded with administrators, but suffering a drought of artists. She offers great advice to established organizations and funders on how to best reach and cultivate artists.
Mariah MccCarthy responded back with “I’m Starting My Theater Company, Dammit”. Which lays out great reasons for still starting an arts organization, despite the #supplydemand debate. She has found what many artists have- the only way to have the artistic freedom you want, is to do it in your own place!
Is anyone starting or NOT starting an arts organization because of this debate?
Continuing in the same vein, the illustrious and thoughtful Michael Kaiser writes on the state of the arts. He contends that the arts have become more institutionalized and organized, taking away the responsibility of art-making from people. Money quote:
I love Michael Kaiser. I think he’s brilliant. And, I think he’s right. So, artists, do we have to create our own organizations in order to make great art? Funders, are you willing to find creative ways to get money directly to the art-makers, rather than to the administrators? Young people (I think this is still me), what is going on in the classical (as opposed to entertainment) arts that is worth talking about?
Have we created and documented all we need of art? I don't think so. Is the world short on talent? No, again.
But the institutional nature of our arts ecology, a relatively recent phenomenon, means that groups of people are now more responsible for arts making than the individual. Boards, managers and producing consortia are overly-involved.
And these groups are misbehaving. They are overly-conservative, subject to "group think" and so worried about budgets that they forget that bad art hurts budgets far more than risk-taking does.
It is popular to bemoan the fact that young people spend too much time communicating vapid thoughts on Facebook or Twitter. I think this is unfair to younger people. We in responsible arts positions must give them something to talk about.
And, Of Course...
Seth Godin. Be inspired. Then, get to work.