As world economics have changed, so too has the world of the performing arts. Orchestras and opera companies around America have reduced productivity, laid off staff and some have even closed after many years serving their communities.

Sometimes the culprit was a lack of ticket sales or poor management. But the primary cause for all of our struggles has been the inability to close the income gap between the real cost of producing the art and the revenue earned from ticket sales. Most of the performing arts need at least 50 percent of their revenue in contributions, and right now contributions are very difficult to find.

In too many of our cities, the burden of supporting the not-for-profits, and particularly opera, symphony and theater, has fallen upon the shoulders of too few trying to support so much for so many.

Visit any city and compare the donor lists for major not-for-profits and you will see many of the same names; generous people who believe in leaving a legacy for future generations. They have invested in their community. But they will not be here forever.

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Ian Campbell
San Diego

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