Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Lessons in Supporting Our Cultural Institutions

Steve Rosen of City Beat is reporting a good year for our local art museums reflected in strong exhibitions like Surrealism and Beyond and Tara Donovan resulting in high museum attendance. During this year of economic hardships felt be all, the arts continue to attract growing audiences and support. In the same issue of City Beat Matt Morris reviews a number of alternative spaces that have gained audiences. Alternative spaces growing audiences? Yes.

Such support for the arts and other cultural institutions is not specific to Greater Cincinnati. Nationally, museums and galleries have seen attendance grow. It is generally agreed that this growth is the result of people looking for entertainment and events that are not so expensive. Museums with free admission like the Cincinnati Art Museum as well as gallery openings you can find nearly every week (some with great spreads of food and drink) have enticed many who have been forced to cut their spending.

This support for our cultural institutions is not only reflected in attendance, but also at the polls. In 2009, a year of a struggling economy, Cincinnati saw the passage of two levies. One supporting the Cincinnati Public Library and another for The Museum Center.

At the end of a year that forced postponing building projects, cutting staff, and cancelling shows, further cutting library hours and staff we are reminded of the the importance of our cultural institutions. We can learn a lesson in management from these non-profit institutions. While corporations are still bleeding nationally, the arts and cultural institutions prove to be the true pillars of our community.

These lessons of 2009 should be remembered next time we consider national, state, and local budget cuts.


Keith Banner said...

It really is a great period for Cincinnati visual art and new alternative spaces to exhibit in, I think... Maybe it has something to do with a rotten economy and a volatile world? Maybe a lot of people are looking for some kind of rootedness and/or connection and/or focus by just paying homage to things and ideas and environments and installations made by real live people.

Dee said...

I understand the budget issues, Columbus is having a lot of the same issues with both our Library and Art Community.