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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Tanner, Virginia
Notes on fund-raising for dance: and a consideration of specifics,   pp. 356-359 ff. PDF (4.4 MB)


Page 356


statement of the overall problems ...
by Barbara Weisberger
Executive Artistic Director, Pennsylvania Ballet.
Fund-raising is not my favorite subject, I'm
afraid, and after thirteen years of the survival
struggle, I must admit I feel very tired and a
bit angry. A colleague recently showed me an
article in Forbes Magazine which quoted Joan
Ganz Cooney as saying, "I spend ninety per-
cent of my time on survival issues. My
largest function is to go out hat in hand to
raise money to render a service to the public.
It's ignominious and wrong." It sounds like
something I have said many times.
Forgive the obviously petulant sentiments, but
it is indicative of the depletion of spirit and
energy which I think is rather common to
those involved in funding for the arts.
In my more productive moments, I remind
myself of certain salient points:
* One must remember that arts organizations
and institutions are very young, still
unformed administratively and constantly in
a state of flux and repatterning. Immediate
and critical problems have often prevented
essential long-range planning.
* The American society still looks upon the
arts as a non-essential and certainly low
priority, i.e., "How can one give money to
356
a ballet company when there are poor
people?" An important thing to remember
is that those of us seeking funds for the arts
must realize that we are doing pioneer
work, and a good part of our jobs is to
attempt to change basic values.
* Patterns of philanthropy, especially on the
governmental and many corporate and foun-
dation levels, force a great amount of
"grantsmanship," a time-consuming, usual-
ly expensive pastime. We are often required
to create new areas of expenditure in
order to fit into specified guidelines, rather
than requesting assistance for priority,
already-budgeted needs. It is essential that
we attempt to convince funding sources
that contributions to general operations are
most helpful and finally most productive.
and a consideration of specifics . . .
by Virginia Tanner
Director, Children's Dance Theatre,
University of Utah.
What are the chief funding needs of dance
and how might they best be met?
Chief funding needs are for companies which
are ready to perform nationally. Box office
receipts can't meet the costs of today's
salaries, travel, lodging and food for America's
good to excellent companies.
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