Recession slams U.S. arts organizations

Once flush with corporate and private donations, rising ticket revenue and government subsidies, many nonprofit arts groups are now reeling and resorting to widespread staff layoffs and furloughs, canceled performances and tours, and truncated seasons, The Washington Post reports.

In response to the downturn, some institutions, including the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, have scaled back exhibitions. Others, such as the Baltimore Opera Company, have chosen to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate their assets, while still others—the Sacramento Ballet among them—have decide to cancel the rest of their season.

At the same time, many arts organizations have had to fight the perception that contributing to the arts at a time of economic hardship is somehow frivolous. To that end, some groups have adopted and/or fine-tuned the message that the arts are an important economic engine that creates jobs and stimulates tourism.

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