The recession, two years in

Posted on: June 25, 2010

In Thursday’s (6/24) Seattle Times, Janet I. Tu reports on the ongoing effects of the recession: “As the recession wears on, arts organizations have been hit especially hard. Although some arts groups say their audience and attendance haven’t decreased—indeed, they have grown—those who go tend to buy cheaper tickets. And donations from corporations, foundations and individuals—typically a large chunk of revenue—continued to decline. … Locally and nationally, as large arts organizations plan for their next fiscal year—which for many begins in July—some are cutting deeper than they have even the previous year. They’re reducing hours, eliminating positions, freezing or cutting pay, and halting employer matches for retirement funds. … At Seattle Symphony, which has cut staff and instituted furloughs, staff wages have been frozen and retirement benefits suspended. The musicians union made wage concessions, and musicians agreed to pay more for health coverage.” Both the former and current interim executive director as well as Music Director Gerard Schwarz took pay cuts. “Still, not everything is gloomy. After a year of belt-tightening, staff reductions and wage freezes that saved about $1.7 million, Seattle Opera is moving forward with modest, cost-of-living increases for its nonunion staff. (It’s still negotiating with several of its unions.) And attendance has risen for some arts organizations.”

Posted June 25, 2010