ArtsJournal has been a bit depressing lately. Day after day, there’s news of cuts in public funding arts organizations cutting back, retrenching, or going out of business. Growing numbers of unemployed artists. These links from just the past week or so.
And yet, I keep hearing other stories arts organizations holding fund-raisers and raising more money than ever. And other stories of artists finding new opportunities. The impact of the recession seems to be mixed. A recent report [pdf here] on how the arts are being affected in Seattle reports that:
Cultural organizations interviewed appear to fall into three general categories – those who are proactively addressing the situation and are actually energized by the challenge; those who are informed but more cautious in their responses; and those who seem to be in denial, reluctant to make any changes without further confirmation of the need to do so.
One could see contraction of the newspaper industry as the end of journalism as we know it. Or one could see it as an opportunity for a better version of journalism to emerge. The death of a local opera company might be terrible. But maybe its passing allows a better version to take its place. Perhaps recession is an opportunity to push over some things that haven’t worked for a while. So then where are the new opportunities?