Toronto (ON) - Buoyed by pre-recession subscription sales and the stabilizing effect of government funding, performing arts organizations are preparing to ride out this economic crisis, according to a recent survey by Canada’s Performing Arts Alliance. Our Fiscal Performance, which covered the period from September 1, 2008 to the most recent winter holiday season, examined the financial impact of the current economic downturn on orchestras, operas, theatres and dance companies.
But it’s not all good news. While 51% of performing arts organizations were forecasting that they would break even or have a surplus this year, 47% report that the forecast is worse than they originally budgeted. As a result the organizations were taking such steps as reducing or freezing salaries (52%) reducing travel (37%) and, perhaps most importantly, reducing their number of productions/programs (27%).
“Reducing the number of productions or performances will have a negative impact on Canadians” says Jim Smith, President of the Canadian Dance Assembly. Ann Lewis-Luppino, Chair of Orchestras Canada adds “The arts sector is a major contributor to the Canadian economy. Less artistic activity will directly affect the livelihoods and the reach of Canadian artists”.
One area where performing arts organizations were projecting a dramatic reduction is in the area of fundraising, specifically from corporate contributions.
Eric Coates, President of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres notes “Arts organizations have been diversifying their revenue sources, and building on relationships with corporate sponsors. So losses in the private sector have an immediate impact on the arts”. Individual donations and support from foundations were also down over the period.
“Even with the downturn in contributed income, earned revenues through ticket sales mainly held their ground, sending a clear message that even in this economic climate, Canadians value the arts.” says James W. Wright, Chair of Opera.ca. The next installment of survey results will be released in the fall.
89 performing arts organizations from across Canada participated in the survey. The survey was conducted by Prairie Research Associates, based in Winnipeg.
Canada’s Performing Arts Alliance represents over 850 performing artists and arts organizations across the country. We are committed to being at the forefront of arts advocacy in Canada, working with the Canadian Arts Coalition, the Canadian Conference for the Arts, Imagine Canada and others.
For more information:
Jim Smith, President
Shannon Litzenberger, Executive Director
Christina Loewen, Executive Director
Katherine Carleton, Executive Director
Lucy White, Executive Director
416 595-6455 extension 11