Good news for Columbus Symphony, public funding up

We all know public funding for the arts is hard to come by in the US, certainly more so than in Europe. And that recent economic downturns have made getting funding that much harder. So I think it's pretty good news that the development director of the Columbus Symphony announced a strong increase in the CSO's funding as well as its overall business rating. Good news that hopefully bodes well for future public and especially private support. Here's the note listing the news and the numbers:

Dear CSO Musicians,

We are pleased to inform you that the 2012 grant award from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) has increased to $89,774 for their new grant period. This is a 37.5% increase from last year’s award of $65,200, so this is excellent news for the Symphony. This is a result of several factors, the two most important being an increase in OAC’s state funding by $4 million for the 2012-2013 biennium, and the commendable turnaround in the financial stability and operations of the CSO.

You will be interested to know that our scores for the OAC Panel Meeting review increased from a master score of 71 in the previous grant application process to a master score of 85 for this year’s review. By far the largest point increase was in the area of “Organizational/financial merit” which indicated a much stronger confidence in the CSO’s financial and management stability. The Panel also commented favorably on our high quality artistic product, innovative use of technology, strong increase in ticket and subscription sales, and extensive education programs.

This vote of confidence from OAC carries substantial weight in demonstrating the Symphony’s public value to the community.

Thank you,

Lucy Godman
Director of Development
Columbus Symphony Orchestra

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2 comments for “Good news for Columbus Symphony, public funding up

  1. July 29, 2011 at

    Great news for the Columbus! Really happy to read this post knowing about the orchestra’s background as I do.

    However, I would like to challenge you on one point – it really is not easier to secure arts funding in Europe and I have tried in earnest!

    In Spain there simply isn’t any any funding to be had – period; musicians in the UK have recently been the subject of huge grant cuts just like the US and in France if you’re grass roots i.e., not on the elite club circuit, just forget it!

    I’ve only named 3 countries. I can’t imagine the situation in places like Greece, Romania and Ireland – I could list many more.

    Where I do think the UK scores well above the rest is in the fact that it is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial classical music mindsets in the world where anything goes.

    Portfolio careers are the norm as opposed to the exception so musicians have the opportunity to pursue very diverse career paths.

    One of the reasons I’m very keen that International visa regulations are relaxed – made less costly and bureaucratically complex – is because I sincerely believe that no one jurisdiction has all the answers and we all need and can benefit from cross continent exchange trips.

    The sooner musicians wake up and acknowledge that nobody owes them a living and create their own, the better and you’re a shining example David, of what can happen when the shackles come off. I salute your courage!

    • August 1, 2011 at

      HI Marion, I wanted to respond thoughtfully, but haven’t had a chance to think it through. While I agree with your points, I believe I intended in my comment to refer to the larger institutions of classical music such as orchestras, ballets, operas, which are still better subsidized in Europe in general than in the US. While that is changing for sure, the US is leading the way in making access to public support much harder to get.

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