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Arts & Culture

The Tobin equation: How performance centers elevate the arts

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

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The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, under construction.


Both museums and performing arts organizations have tightened belts since the Great Recession. Some have failed. Are new and better digs a sliver bullet for success? SA museums are doing far better than average. Both the McNay and SAMA are financially sound after building new additions in the past few years, but not so for other museums around the country. Though now stabilized, the Denver Art Museum failed to meet staffing and exhibition costs after it opened its new Daniel Libeskind addition in 2006. Other museums, including the huge Phoenix Art Museum, have been hobbled by financial restrictions since opening new additions in the last few years. What's the bottom line? Proper governance of the nonprofit is key. Donors hesitate to invest in organizations that are not run rigorously, with detailed business plans and believable means by which to attain them. But it's not all about money, says Bugg.

"What you have to look at is the impact on the community," says Bugg. "Not everyone in the business community is enamored of the arts, but they do understand the need for education. It has been proven that those students exposed to the visual and performing arts have higher math, science, and reading scores. They are more inclined to stay in school, and more inclined to continue their educational journey." Any questions?

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