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Why Do We Do This?
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Michael Kaiser

This is the most difficult time to be an arts manager in my 26 years in the profession.

The development of new technology has given our audience members new forms of entertainment and new ways to spend their discretionary time and money. This has made it far more difficult to sell tickets at prices that cover most, if not all, of the cost of production. People now entertain themselves with iPads, iPods, iPhones and numerous other electronic devices. They are entertained for so little money that high-priced performance tickets lose their appeal.

This is happening, of course, at a time of financial instability. This has made our audiences more price-sensitive and our donors less likely to make major contributions.

Of course, with more competition for entertainment dollars, we have to produce even more exciting and important art -- and this often costs more money.

But with earned and unearned income difficult to come by, risk-taking seems death defying rather than simply scary.

And our boards are pressuring for less risk and less expenditure of funds in this cash-constrained climate.

But risk-taking is necessary to attract new audiences who are not habitual...........

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