Arts institutions adapt to changing tastes

Posted on: March 25, 2010

In Monday’s (3/22) Montreal Gazette, Henry Aubin writes, “If you want to know what’s happening to institutions all over Montreal, consider the CV of the person who became the new boss of the McCord Museum this week. It used to be that the head of any museum had to know a lot about museum work. The McCord’s past CEO, Victoria Dickenson, was typical: She had a master’s in museum work. … But Suzanne Sauvage, who replaced her Monday, has a career in marketing. … New generations’ changing tastes and a weakened economy have made these pillars financially fragile, and they’re struggling to reinvent themselves. The question is, will their efforts compromise the high standards that earned them their original respect? Will they sacrifice their souls in their quest for popularity?” Not necessarily. “Take the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. It was on the ropes when conductor Charles Dutoit left in a huff in 2002. But the Kent Nagano era has pitched the MSO toward a new market—playing at a Canadiens game, for example, and commissioning an orchestral work based on the trek of Terry Fox. Yet never has the MSO abandoned its core ‘serious’ market.”

Posted March 25, 2010