Whither the Non-Profit Arts Sector?

From Alex Aldrich, executive director for the Vermont Arts Council:

A recent post by Brooklyn Philharmonic CEO Richard Dare set the nonprofit arts world all abuzz. It gave a lot of statistics about the number of orchestras that are failing and the general fragility of the non-profit art sector—in short, the kind of alarm-ringing I, for one, have heard since the early 1970s when I began my career in the arts.

The interesting thing is that Dare is right. He’s right if you define the arts as they are traditionally considered: those art forms handed down to us from, mostly, Europe. Classical music, fine arts, theater, dance—these are the art forms that many of us have labored for years to sustain, to bring to the farthest corners of our nation, to extol as the epitome of creativity. And to a large degree, we have generally accomplished our goals. Orchestras, opera companies, theaters, museums and galleries no longer exist just in large major metropolitan areas. They are everywhere. Maybe, just maybe, we have been too successful…

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