FROM TC: People often ask what I read in order to put together an edition of "You've Cott Mail." I browse hundreds of sites each week, but Douglas McLennan's indispensable ArtsJournal.com is a must-read every day. This morning, AJ had these stories about arts funding issues around the globe:
In Germany, a controversial call to close every other cultural institution
Clemens Bornsdorf, The Art Newspaper, 4/19/12
A call by a group of academics and cultural commentators to close every second state-subsidised cultural institution in response to the economic downturn has provoked a robust response from German artists, filmmakers and writers. The proposal, by the consultant and director of the Centre for Cultural Research think tank in Berlin, Dieter Haselbach, the director of the state-funded Swiss arts council, Pro Helvetia, Pius Knüsel, and academics Armin Klein, and Stephan Opitz (also an official at the ministry of culture in the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein), was set out in the recent book Der Kulturinfarkt [Cultural Heart Attack] as well as an article in the magazine Der Spiegel. "This is not a concrete demand, but just a theoretical [proposal]," says Opitz. "Expenditure for culture has increased without control since the 1970s but many institutions cannot fulfil their task in an acceptable way. They lack money for research, marketing and so on." He maintains that decreasing the number of institutions could [improve] quality with each remaining institution getting more money. While Opitz and his colleagues have been heavily criticised by prominent politicians, journalists and arts practitioners, they are at least partly backed up by the "Piratenpartei" (Pirate Party), the anti-establishment party making an increasing impact with voters. A Gallup poll puts them at 13% at national level.
Jordan's only professional orchestra faces closure due to loss of funding
PETRA (Jordan News Agency), 4/17/12
Wednesday night the members of the Amman Symphony Orchestra [gathered] for a special benefit concert at the Al Hussein Cultural Center in Ras Al Ain to raise support for the Kingdom's only professional symphony orchestra. A loss of donor funding means that the ASO and the Amman Arab Music Ensemble will close down at the end of the 2012 concert season if they do not raise enough financial support from both public and private institutions. The National Music Conservatory has been developing Jordanian musicians for more than 25 years leading to the formation of the ASO and the AAME in 2006. They began performing in 2007, providing Jordanians with the opportunity to experience music through the works of great composers, visiting conductors, and fine soloists.
As UK theatres cope with funding cuts, playwrights to get higher minimum fees
Matthew Hemley, The Stage, 4/19/12
Playwrights working for the National Theatre, the Royal Court and the Royal Shakespeare Company are to benefit from an increase of just under 8% on their minimum fee. The Writers' Guild of Great Britain has secured a rate of £11,500 for writers of original plays used by the three venues, up 7.94% from £10,654 in 2010, when the rate under its Theatres National Committee agreement was last increased. Announcing the updated terms, which see other payments such as attendance fees increase, the guild said they would "more than compensate" for the rise in the cost of living since 2010. Bernie Corbett, general secretary at the guild, added that it shows recognition of "the central role of the writer". "This is welcome at a time when theatres are having to cope with cuts in arts council and local authority support," he added. Meanwhile, a 3% increase to the guild's agreement with the Independent Theatre Council, which predominantly covers smaller theatres and touring companies, has been agreed. This sees the minimum fee for a full-length play of more than 70 minutes rise to £7,780, while a play of between 30 and 70 minutes will now earn a writer £5,254. A piece under 30 minutes will earn a playwright £2,626.
In Los Angeles, the $8 billion Getty Trust hires... a fundraiser?
Mike Boehm, The Los Angeles Times, 4/19/12
The J. Paul Getty Trust, the visual art world's ultimate one-percenter with about $8 billion in net assets, has decided that it can't get by on investment income alone and will begin raising money in earnest to pay for special projects. J. Timothy Child, a fundraiser for the University of Chicago since 1989, will assume the newly created position of VP of institutional advancement on June 11 -- the first time in its 30-year history the Getty has hired a chief fundraiser. James Cuno, president of the Trust, said its plans to court donors doesn't mean it will be poaching support from L.A.'s other cultural organizations. The Getty doesn't plan to set an annual fundraising target or aim to cover a set percentage of its overall budgets with donations. Instead, it will identify specific projects and make pitches to donors who share those interests. Cuno said the Getty will concentrate mainly on courting donors nationally and internationally rather than locally. Despite its huge endowment, Cuno said, the Getty's ambitions have "grown to the point where the expansion of our programs will soon outstrip the growth of our financial resources," making fundraising imperative.