In Recession, Whither The Arts?

As I type this posting, the stock markets around the world are in free fall. I keep wondering: what will the effects of the economic turndown be on the arts? Certainly, it will become (and is already becoming) tougher for arts organizations to secure government and private funding. But that doesn’t mean that the need for entertainment will go away. Au contraire: the need for distraction will grow greater. It’s the kind of distraction that will be interesting to track. The conventional wisdom is that people will flock to inexpensive entertainment. But I don’t see the recession having much effect on the gold-plated hits. In New York, for example, Broadway blockbusters like “Jersey Boys” and “South Pacific” are showing no great signs of slipping, and if you’re trying to get tickets for next year’s Yankee games, forget about it. On the other hand, the smaller theater companies and musical organizations are really starting to hurt, and I don’t think they’ll be able to get themselves out of the pinch by discounting tickets: then they’ll have less revenue than before. Maybe we’ll all stay home and watch TV and surf the Internet for the next year. (That makes the thought of a Depression even more depressing.)

Leave a Comment