Are the Arts Gaining or Losing Ground in America Today?

Wednesday, October 20, 8:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Organized by Paul Botts, director of Chicago programs, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation.

Presented by Deb Clapp, executive director, League of Chicago Theatres; Randy Cohen, vice president of local arts advancement, Americans for the Arts; Marian Godfrey, senior director, Culture Initiatives, The Pew Charitable Trusts; Peter Linett, partner, Slover Linnett Strategies.

A growing wave of new data about the arts sector is rendering a picture that seems mud. Attendance is down but individual arts participation is rising. College conservatories boom while primary arts education shrivels. A number of major symphonies are staggering while a wave of new classical ensembles emerges. Broadway sets sales records while overall theater numbers are flat. Trend lines in arts funding turn out to depend a lot on the precise definition of “funding”; regardless, the number of arts nonprofits keeps rising. And so forth. Several leaders in understanding the field will discuss the big picture: is the new wave of hard data revealing a glass that’s half full? half empty? tipping over? freezing? something else?

In the News: The NEA's 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts: