Portland arts in the black, but challenges ahead

Posted on: July 28, 2010

An editorial in Wednesday’s (7/28) Oregonian (Portland) states, “The news this week that several of Portland’s major performing arts groups are running in the black is as sobering as it is heartening. It took pain to get here. Musician salaries and marketing were cut at the Oregon Symphony, staffers were furloughed and maintenance deferred at Portland Opera, dancers were laid off and live music banished at Oregon Ballet Theatre. But in the doing Portland retains a performing arts infrastructure with a steady pulse, ready for the lean and new day—significant in itself. … If belt-tightening realities of the recession forced financial retooling, so, too, did a desire by large funders in Oregon that arts organizations work not in deficit mode but as solvent businesses. Now they will. And now they face the hardest part of all, the real riddle: Can our arts organizations boldly sustain and build audiences while winning essential income contributions? Not ticket sales, already reliable—but uncertain money from foundations, corporations and individuals? The answer has to be yes. Performed music, theater and dance are as much the DNA of this city and region as bikes, beer and fleece.”

Posted July 28, 2010