Grim Outlook On Cultural Confidence

The latest Cultural Confidence update indicates that the slight upturn in the economic outlook for cultural institutions experienced around the national elections was short lived. Results from the most recent polling cycle indicate that not only do more people feel that their institution’s current economic situation is degrading but their economic outlook sank to a new low since polling began…

Over the past two months, the ratio of respondents who feel that the economic conditions at their orchestra will be “poor” (the lowest available option) has risen steadily each cycle whereas the ratio of respondents who feel that their economic conditions at their orchestra will be excellent (the highest option available) has dropped from a small percentage to zero. The chart below illustrates the current trends.

cultural-economic-outlook-trends
click to enlarge
Better than expected holiday spending may have a positive impact on the cultural economic outlook.
Better than expected holiday spending may boost to the cultural economic outlook.

At the same time, the large number of variables impacting the economy such as the change in presidential leadership in January and where the Federal Government will direct the remaining bailout funds may reverse these trends. Add to that the initial news surrounding higher than expected levels of holiday spending and a push toward increased lending and some of these attitudes may change.

Consequently, if you haven’t cast your vote in the current poll cycle then VOTE NOW.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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