Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Supporting the Arts

My letter to the editor of the Dallas Morning News on people protesting the lack of live music at the ballet. They cut a bit of it off, including the end where I suggest that we need to donate more to the ballet and the other arts to keep the best of the arts Western civilization has to offer around through the depression we're currently in. This is the complete text:

This past Saturday, my wife and I attended the ballet, Cleopatra, at Bass Hall in Forth Worth. As we went in, we encountered protestors protesting the fact that there was no live music, only recorded music. As lovers of both the ballet and the opera, we of course greatly prefer the use of live music, as that allows for an actual interplay between the orchestra and dancers. However, it later came to our attention that the reason for the lack of live music was because of a significant monetary shortfall on the part of the Texas Ballet Theater. If the choice is between no ballet and ballet with pre-recorded music, the choice is obvious. The demonstrators were from the local musicians union, 72-147, and while the certainly have some valid points, including a fear that live music may be permanently replaced by pre-recorded music, it also seems that the demonstrators, by encouraging patrons to not by tickets for future performances, are cutting off their noses to spite their faces. If less money comes to the Ballet, whether from reduced donations or from reduced ticket sales, it will be even harder for the Ballet to have live music in the future. If the musicians union is sincere about getting live music back in the Texas Ballet Theater, they should be spending their time and money trying to get people to donate more and to get more people in the seats. If their current activities are successful, they will close down the Ballet, and ensure that no live music will ever be played at the Texas Ballet ever again. And with the current economy, which only looks to get worse and to last for many years, the arts in particular are going to suffer. This will be a real shame, as if we lose the ballet, the opera, the symphony, our theaters, etc., we will lose our culture as well. Do we really want a cultural collapse as well as an economic collapse? Shouldn’t we be encouraging people to make even small donations to ensure that we can keep the very best of our culture alive?

We do need to support the arts in this country more. I'm trying to do that with The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture, but I have $0 in donations to date. Any suggestions on how to get money so we can get this thing up and running so we can finally begin patronizing artists? We especially need donations from the general public to maintain our 501(c)(3) status.

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