Recession hurts local arts groups' bottom line

Posted July 24, 2009 11:04 p.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2009 7:13 a.m. EDT

— For arts groups around the Triangle, the recession has taken center stage as it cuts their budgets and drags down donations.

Charles Reinhart, director of the American Dance Festival, said donations are down 40 percent. The drop forced the festival to be shortened by one week this year.

Reinhart said at the end of their shows they ask for audience donations. The response has been encouraging, he said.

The North Carolina Symphony’s budget was cut this year from $14.1 million to $11.9 million, according to the Director of Communications Jeannie Mellinger. The group’s conductor is taking a 10 percent pay cut and the musicians are taking an overall cut of 17 percent. The President and CEO David Worters is taking a 30 percent pay cut.

The North Carolina Theater in Raleigh is hoping the classic "The Sound of Music" will boost their bottom line when it opens this  weekend. Overall though, officials said the budget for the group is down 10 percent. Officials said it has been caused by a decrease in large contributors.

Despite the drop in donations, Reinhart said people are still attending performances at the American Dance Festival. “Ticket sales are up,” he said.

Mary Nagler said she supports the arts because it is “one of the most important things we have.”