Arts facilities as economic stimulus

Posted on: December 23, 2010

The metro section of Thursday’s (12/23) New York Times features Cara Buckley’s conversation with Willem Brans, vice president of Arts Consulting Group, based in Los Angeles, which “has helped conceive and plan new concert halls and raise funds for dozens of performing arts organizations and museums.” Among the biggest projects of Brans’s career were helping plan Dallas’s Meyerson Symphony Center, which Brans describes as “a turning point for Dallas,” and the $120 million concert hall opening in January in Carmel, Ind. Brans discusses how tough economic times have affected the arts: “There are arts organizations that are having trouble meeting payroll; museums, symphony orchestras, theater companies, dance companies that never had to worry about that before, because they had cash reserves or annual funds or solid admission and earned income. … it’s very, very painful.” For Brans one upside is that “we’re seeing a lot of interest on the part of towns, cities and municipalities that are considering building arts facilities. They’re interested in making themselves an arts destination. People see it as an economic stimulus. Art provides an image of excellence, and even at times perfection, in a world that is beset with pain and difficulty and great challenge. It provides order against chaos.”

Posted December 23, 2010