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The State of the Arts


The New York Times had three stories over the weekend that provide all the context one needs of how things are going in this little corner of the economy.

First, the paper reported on Saturday what sources have been telling Back Stage for months: If you think the 2008-09 season was tough for nonprofits, wait until you get a load of '09-10. It looms "as the toughest financial challenge they have faced," according to theatre executives.

The Times also reported over the weekend the problems of dance companies to maintain their spaces in a faltering economy. The magic bullet for dance and theatre companies was owning their own theatres. Recession and sharp downturn in the credit markets, coupled with a dropoff in donations, makes debt service difficult to maintain.

Last, there seems to be an increasing amount of background talent. Things are so desperate, people who used to work in finance are now eager for the chance to test the limits of their patience and dignity.

--Andrew Salomon

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