The Oregonian lists more fiscally troubled Portland and Oregon arts organizations in today’s paper.

“It’s somewhat alarming,” said Chris D’Arcy, executive director of the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust.

See Culture centers gasping for cash – The Oregonian

So far, from Jeff Manning, David Austin & David Stabler + Guidestar + Charity Navigator have revealed –

Net income or loss for the two most recent fiscal years available.

Oregon Symphony
2004: $-1,200,000
2005: $-1,000,000

Portland Opera
2004: $-439,176
2005: $-1,000,000

Oregon Ballet Theatre
2003: $238,000
2004: $-900,000

Portland Center Stage
2004: $-672,284
2005: $182,796

Oregon Historical Society
2004: $-2,389,128
2005: $-3,962,018

Oregon Shakespeare Festival
2004: $-117,967
2005: $-362,054

Portland Art Museum
2004: $12,303,008
2005: $18,450,609

(BTW, be wary of big round revenue or deficit numbers!)

And these are the biggies in Oregon, the arts organizations with real development people, managing real campaigns, shaking down real major donors. The groundwork of developing an audience which supports the HUNDREDS of arts organizations in Oregon has failed. The audience, the buyers and attenders and members and donors with the wallets just aren’t here – yet.

Why? Good question for another day. As a community we should base economic development on outcomes – and if the arts have an economy and audiences need to oriented, then these numbers indicate our collective strategies have failed. Oh, politicians!

Question of the day: is there an arts advocacy organization in Oregon which is NOT CONFLICTED by also being an arts provider (not a museum or gallery or governmental bureaucracy) which can act with sufficient independence and impact to launch an audience?

Tune in next time for the answer to this question.

Real arts drama happens behind the scenes – Salem Statesman Journal chimes in.

On July 11, The Oregonian editorial bandwagoners swing away – see No room for error in Oregon arts. They, too, miss the point. It’s live on your feet or die on your knees, as Jerry A used to snarl.

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