Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tough times

Wherein I do not support a federal bailout or the dumbass idea of creating a White House arts czar

Miami Ballet gives 8 ballerinas pink slips
There are too many ballerinas and not enough money to pay them all.

Carolina Ballet:
Due to recent economic impacts on UNC Wilmington, the university will not be able to host our 2009 summer program. We are actively searching for a new partner for the summer of 2010. ALL AUDITIONS FOR 2009 ARE CANCELLED. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, as we were planning for another successful intensive and residency.

Arizona Ballet:
Ballet Arizona announced today that it has canceled plans for its June concert program and laid off 25 percent of its administrative staff.

I guess puns help the medicine go down, Recession is bitter music for arts:
The Michigan Opera Theater, in its 38th season, has a deficit of about $600,000 because of declining donations from Detroit's Big Three automakers, DiChiera said. The opera is also having difficulty securing a credit line and has huge mortgage payments on its opera house, parking structure and related retail space.[...]

Lagging ticket sales and deepening budget problems have forced the Sacramento Ballet to cancel the rest of its season. Ballet companies in Cincinnati, Miami and Madison, Wis., have also had to cancel shows or make other cutbacks in recent weeks. The Utah Shakespearean Festival has cut more than $700,000 from its 2009 budget, including three of the festival's 25 full-time employees.

In Sacramento, the canceled season came after a lackluster holiday season that forced the ballet to sell tickets to "The Nutcracker Suite" for $10 — one-fifth the usual cost.[...]

Musicians who played for Opera Pacific were told they were out of work during intermission on the final night of "The Barber of Seville." Then they played the second half. ouch, that's cold

insufficient funds:
Meanwhile, not-for-profit arts organizations are clearly suffering. The Los Angeles Opera has announced plans to lay off 17 people, cut salaries and stage fewer performances. The Miami City Ballet is dropping eight dancers. The Baltimore Opera has declared bankruptcy, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem is cutting salaries for its entire staff by 10 per cent to avoid layoffs and programming cuts.

Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative:
is a high-tech support service through which arts administrators can talk to the center's personnel about the challenges of shrinking income, budget-conscious audiences and other difficulties in keeping the doors open. [...]

Any arts organization that is nonprofit -- which usually covers orchestras, dance troupes and theaters -- can sign up for free assistance. Over the eight years since Kaiser took over the Kennedy Center, it has built a reservoir of information about how groups have managed their successes and failures through a half-dozen programs.

"Organizations that have endowments have seen them cut by one-third," Kaiser said. "In cities like Detroit that are so dependent on the auto industry, the money is gone. Foundations are forced to cut back, and individuals have seen their wealth reduced. People are buying their tickets more selectively, and they are not going out as often."

In recent weeks, organizations from almost every part of the country have reported belt-tightening measures, or worse. The Baltimore Opera Company filed for bankruptcy. The Seattle Repertory Theatre asked its staff of 55 to take two weeks of unpaid leave. The Orlando Ballet cut live music for "The Nutcracker" so the dance troupe wouldn't be reduced. The Santa Clarita Symphony in California canceled its season.

The Denver Post reported Sunday that many local arts organizations had cut their budgets by 12 percent but had not instituted layoffs. And the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that the Joffrey Ballet froze hiring eight months ago.


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