Tuesday, November 27, 2012


I am happy to see a day in the holiday season designed to ask people to stop and consider others. I do have to laugh that Americans gather on a special day to give thanks for all the blessings and abundance we have, and then the very next day they madly run out to buy more stuff as if what we were thankful for the previous day was not enough. So now Black Friday, Grey Thursday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are  being followed by Giving Tuesday. Still a little out of whack – consumption gets four days and selflessness gets one. It’s a start.

NPR aired a nice story about this possible trend. 'Giving Tuesday': The Start of a Holiday Tradition?

We recognize the need for social service giving. The MAC has long partnered with the People’s Resource Center during our Christmas Carol and Orchestras Feeding America food drives. In years past we have hosted their annual Gavin Coyle Christmas Concert. This year with the MAC under renovation the concert has moved to North Central College’s Pfeiffer Auditorium this Saturday Dec 1. Ticket information for Songs of the Season: A Gavin Coyle Christmas can be found at the PRC website.

The McAninch Arts Center and many arts organizations hope our patrons remember us during this season. Support for arts and culture has always depended on the generosity of others. Beethoven depended on royal patronage and commissions to support his family. Shakespeare wrote plays for the Queen’s court, works that otherwise might never have been enjoyed by the common man for one pence. It is the patronage of a few people with means that allow the masses access to the arts. 

The troubling trend for people in my position is that just as audiences for classical music, theater, and the more challenging fine arts are aging and shrinking so are the donor dollars. Grantmakers in the Arts has published several reports noting that arts giving is down and that most markedly affected are the small and medium sized organizations. The CSO, Goodman, Art Institute and the Lyric Opera are storied institutions that are part of the bedrock of Chicago cultural and civic life. Even in down times their patron-donor base rises to the occasion. But what impact does it have on a community when the storefront theater, the hamlet's only art gallery, or the small civic orchestra is forced to close its doors? 

Please remember the small arts organization this season and to our friends on this "Giving Tuesday" we say thank you.

Be well

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