If nothing else, this business is never dull. Yesterday’s Kansas City Star published an article by Dan Margolies which reports that the Kansas City Symphony filled a lawsuit against Missouri’s General Assembly for failing to provide arts funding as promised via decade old legislature…
The article does a fine job of reporting the details of the event, but the part I find confusing is why the orchestra would decide to launch a scorched earth campaign by using the equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction: a lawsuit.
The article goes on to point out that none of the other local Kansas City arts organizations joined the KCS in the lawsuit. Furthermore, the article reports that the Symphony’s attorney (and board member) stated that he thought the other organizations would be afraid of reprisals if they took part. Perhaps that is a wise course of action for the other arts organizations to take since government funding on any level is, at best, unpredictable. Furthermore, adding a negative personal element such as a lawsuit certainly doesn’t serve to strengthen an already unpredictable relationship.
If the legislature is indeed at fault, then there are plenty of options available that bring pressure to bear on the situation to have them make good on their promises. All of this makes me wonder if the KCS board is so disconnected from the Missouri political machine that they have no ability to resolve this matter through back-door channels.
It also makes me wonder why they did not pursue any of the other options available to create public awareness, such as launching a PR campaign, holding a press conference, inviting the press to a meeting with state representatives, etc.
Regardless, the die is now cast and, hopefully, the orchestra has crafted plans as to how it will repair the damaged relationships this move will undoubtedly create.