A lack of money sure can bring out the creative qualities in a person.

This was a recurring mantra at forums for arts organizations and funders at Crain’s Future of New York City: Performing Arts conference Wednesday, which was co-sponsored by Columbia University’s School of the Arts…

“It’s not about writing a check anymore,” said Gayle Jennings-O’Byrne, vice president of the foundation. “We need to change the conversation between funders and fundees…”

The need in the arts community has never been so great, added Kate Levin, the city’s commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs. Endowments are down as much as 25%, she said, while attendance is up 5%.

“We are dealing with a sector whose workforce is shrinking, just when there’s a real appetite for what arts and cultural organizations have to offer” Ms. Levin said.

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Lisa Fickenscher and Hilary Potkewitz
Crain’s New York

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