According to a new report commissioned by the Center for an Urban Future, New York City's 2,000 arts and culture organizations are facing the most difficult economic environment in three decades, as government agencies and wealthy individuals scale back their giving and tourists stay home.
"Going On with the Show: Arts & Culture in New York City After September 11," by Neil Scott Kleiman and Suri Duitch, confirms the worst fears of the city's $13 billion cultural industry. All of the 150 arts organizations surveyed said they've suffered or expect substantial economic losses in the next three months, while an eye-opening 90 percent noted that their fundraising efforts since September 11 had brought in less money than expected and fully half reported that a major gift or donation had been cancelled or postponed.
State budget cuts are contributing to the bleak economic picture. In August, the state arts budget was cut by 10 percent, and in October Mayor Rudy Giuliani said that, in the wake of September 11, almost every city agency would have to cut its budget by 15 percent.
Arts organizations also are suffering from a marked drop in tourism. Norma P. Munn, chairwoman of the New York City Arts Coalition, an arts advocacy organization, told the New York Times that the city's arts groups lost $23 million between September 11 and September 30. Some 2,000 school trips to cultural institutions have been cancelled since the attacks, attendance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is down almost 30 percent, and arts groups located downtown are struggling to raise attendance to 50 percent of pre-September 11 levels.
"You have a combination of too many factors too fast," said Munn. "It is that sequence of events that is becoming crippling." To survive, arts groups are laying off staff or imposing hiring freezes, reducing salaries, and postponing plans to improve their facilities. "If we see a further diminution of income," Munn adds, "then January, February, March, we will see closures."
To read the complete report (11 pages, HTML), visit: http://www.nycfuture.org/econdev/1101goingon.htm.