I came across three recent news stories that could promote class discussion and additional research.


First up is a story that was in the New York Times about pension funds for artists. The idea of helping artists create a retirement nest egg seems like a good concept to explore with students.

Related to this topic, I want to bring to your attention a 2015 book by David Maurice Sharp called The Thriving Artist. I’m contemplating incorporating sections of Sharp’s book in my classes, with an eye toward helping our arts management students be better prepared to manage their personal finances.

The “Women take the helm” story seems like a good stimulus for a quick research project. Having students explore the profiles of the arts leaders in their communities could lead to some interesting discussions.

The last article focuses on the recent demise of the San Jose Ballet. As is often the case, there were multiple issues in play that resulted in the doors closing. It is seldom just about the money. There are not a lot of details in this story so I added two other links to give a little more context to the SJB closing.


A Pension Plan for the Creative Class

By Braden Phillips, www.nytimes.com, March 4th, 2016

For many artists, building castles in the sky would be a fair way to describe retirement planning.

Ten years ago, the New York-based program Artist Pension Trust contacted artists with this unusual idea: Give us some of your artworks as assets and rather than sell them as soon as possible, as a gallery would, we will hold them for future sale, probably at least for 10 years. In this way, artists could invest in their future security and benefit from a potential increase in the value of their work.

LINK: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/business/retirementspecial/a-pension-plan-for-the-creative-class.html

The Thriving Artist (and Arts Manager. . .)

David Maurice Sharp, Focal Press, 2015

Sharp’s short book packs a great deal into its 31 chapters. Developing good financial habits, better understanding taxes, and knowing more about mutual funds are just a few of the topics covered. Granted, the book wasn’t written with arts managers in mind, but I found dozens of places where I thought, “Oh, that would be good for my students to know.”

LINK: https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138809178


Women take the helm at major arts groups

By Janet Smith, www.straight.com, March 2, 2016

Tuesday (March 8) is International Women’s Day, and while there’s often a lot of attention paid to successful women in business and politics, rarely do we step back and marvel at women’s contribution to arts.

The fact is a sea change is going on in the biggest cultural institutions in the city—almost all of which are, or are about to be, run by women.

Kathleen Bartels already serves as director at the Vancouver Art Gallery and is spearheading its move to a new landmark. Emily Molnar is artistic director at Ballet B.C., and has steered the company toward growth—including tours to the U.S. and Europe. And the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra recently brought in Kelly Tweeddale, former executive director of Seattle Opera, as president.

LINK: http://www.straight.com/arts/650126/women-take-helm-major-arts-groups


Silicon Valley Ballet shutdown — ‘the writing was on the wall’

By Karen D’souza, www.mercurynews.com, March 9, 2016

After three decades in the spotlight, Silicon Valley Ballet has finally danced its swan song. The leaders of South Bay’s major resident dance company, which has long teetered on the brink of ruin, confirmed Tuesday that the troupe is closing its doors.

News of the $5.5 million company’s demise, which impacts an estimated 32 staff members and 32 dancers, has left many in the arts community saddened if not shocked, and comes in the wake of the death of San Jose Repertory Theatre in 2014. The ballet’s closing raises questions anew about the stability of the arts in Silicon Valley, despite its status as capital of the tech world.

LINK: http://www.mercurynews.com/entertainment/ci_29610629/silicon-valley-ballet-shuts-down

Additional Stories:

Ballet Silicon Valley shutting down after 30 years

From 2015: Ballet San Jose Says It Needs a Quick $550,000 to Avoid Folding