Economy forces colleges and universities to trim arts

Posted on: August 11, 2009

“If you are looking for a sign of how strapped the University of California, Los Angeles, is for cash, consider that its arts and architecture school may resort to holding a bake sale to raise money,” writes Patricia Cohen in Monday’s (8/10) New York Times. “Tens of thousands of students at public and private colleges and universities around the country will find arts programs, courses and teachers missing—victims of piercing budget cuts—when they descend on campuses this month and next. … The University of Arizona is cutting three-quarters of its funds, more than $500,000, for visiting classical music, dance and theater performers. Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts, which supports four departments—dance, music, theater and visual arts—is losing 14 percent of its $1.2 million budget over the next two years. … Since tenured faculty are generally insulated from layoffs, budget cuts fall on part-time and visiting staff, Christopher Waterman, dean of the School of Arts and Architecture at U.C.L.A., explained.” Eliminating staff is particularly dangerous to the arts, where classes are often intimate. “Several other college arts administrators around the country also said programs that serve the surrounding community as well as the students—like museums and performing arts centers—are especially vulnerable.”

Posted August 11, 2009