Employment in the Arts: Recent Perspectives

Untitled asds

Is creative expression a one-way ticket to unemployment? That was the question asked by a recent opinion article in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), written by Jerry Cianciolo. He believes the artistic talents and passions of middle school and high school students – nurtured and celebrated by parents – are too often squelched when “real life” decisions about choosing colleges and careers are made. Cianciolo cites studies to bolster his case that most arts graduates successfully find employment and – more importantly – higher levels of job satisfaction than average …

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Acoustical One-Act Play: Active & Passive Solutions

Transform Motorized Acoustical Banner_30 ft

[Scene: A performance venue plagued with poor acoustics, shortly after show ends. Patrons spill out of doorway onto the sidewalk, frowning, as a chill wind lifts snippets of their conversations into the night air…] Woman #1:   “…muddy and indistinct – was that even in English?” Man #1:  “…under the balcony I couldn’t hear a thing.…” Woman #2:     “…too loud for my tastes and my ears…” [Once the crowd dissipates, two shadowy figures emerge from an alley across the street, heading toward the doorway. Active charges ahead, Passive lags behind.] Active:  …

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Arts Spotlight: Southern Theater, Minneapolis, MN

theater subscription program

Small theaters usually don’t make the business section of local newspapers, but the 165-seat, 105-year-old Southern Theater in Minneapolis was featured in the StarTribune last month in an article about fundraising. We were inspired to visit Executive Director Damon Runnals last week. YPP: How does your “Netflix model” work? Runnals: We call our theater subscription program ARTshare. For $18 per month members can attend an unlimited amount of resident company performances at the Southern, including drama, dance and music. Currently we have 15 local organizations participating – a range of …

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Marketing Spotlight: Folger Theatre, Washington, D.C.

ticket promotions

Earlier this year we read an article about the controversy surrounding the Metropolitan Opera’s rush ticket policy. We wondered how other venues handled rush tickets and the broader question of attracting audiences. We spoke with Beth Emelson, Assistant Artistic Producer with the Folger Theatre in Washington, D.C. YPP: What is the history of the Folger’s rush ticket policy? Emelson: We formalized our policy two seasons ago, selling $30 rush tickets – the best available seat – an hour before curtain time. Regular ticket prices range from $15 for standing room …

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Fleet Angle: What’s That?


If you work with rigging regularly but you’re not an installer, you may not know exactly what the fleet angle is, or why it’s important. It’s a good piece of information to have in your back pocket when you are adjusting or inspecting your rigging, or if you have the opportunity to buy a new rigging system. If you notice an excessive fleet angle, it could be a clue that something is wrong with your mounting or machinery. The fleet angle of a hoist is the angle at which the …

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Q&A Spotlight: Active Acoustic Systems

active acoustic systems

One way technology is impacting performing arts facilities is with active acoustic systems, which use sophisticated computers, microphones and speakers to enhance a venue’s acoustics. For an update on this topic, we contacted Ed Logsdon in Denver. He is a Principal with D.L Adams Associates, a firm specializing in acoustic consulting and system engineering for the performing arts and other industries. YPP: What are the benefits of an active acoustic system? Logsdon: If you’re trying for any variability in the venue’s acoustics, an active acoustic system can go beyond what’s …

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Tobin Center’s Shell: Beautiful Perspectives

Wenger Diva Shell

Last fall we profiled the new $203 million Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, a stunningly beautiful facility with a unique acoustical shell as its centerpiece. Although Wenger has made hundreds of acoustical shells, the Tobin Center acoustical shell was the first that incorporated a digitally printed overlay pattern along with traditional woodworking craftsmanship. This week we’ll explore the shell further. Encouraging Interpretations. The large printed overlay that seems to billow across all the shell towers was inspired by the arabesque ornamentation of the original auditorium’s Spanish …

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An Instrument’s True Value

An Instrument's True Value

What makes certain musical instruments valuable? How is that value properly calculated? And is there any correlation between a historic musical instrument’s value and the quality of the music it creates? Commanding Millions. Stradivarius violins, for example, command millions of dollars at auction; the “Lady Blunt” Strad sold for $15.9 million several years ago. Because only approximately 600 of luthier Antonio Stradivari’s string instruments exist from the early 1700s, their scarcity boosts prices. It’s simple economics. Since Strads are so prized, they are often purchased as investments. Wealthy patrons also …

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Time to Inspect Your Rigging?

J.R. Clancy

Five Facts to Convince Your Board Your stage rigging may be decades old or installed in the last few years, counterweight or motorized, and in good working order or sad and saggy—but no matter what, it’s important to have it inspected regularly by a qualified professional. It can be challenging, however, to get your board of directors to loosen the purse strings, especially if the rigging seems to be working just fine. Here are some facts to help you get the allocation you need to pay for an inspection: It’s …

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Arts Spotlight: Rover Dramawerks, Plano, TX

rover dramawerks

We’re inspired by the passion and creativity of performing arts organizations of all shapes and sizes. This week we’re shining the spotlight on a small Texas theatre by talking to one of its co-founders, Jason Rice. YPP: Tell us about Rover Dramawerks. Rice: We’re starting our 15th year and our mission statement is both lofty and vague: “To produce lost or forgotten works of well-known authors, revive excellent scripts that have suffered from lack of exposure and discover unknown gems of the stage.” Our real mission statement is “I don’t …

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