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April 13, 2012

In the Arts: Fiscal Crunch Time for Symphonies in Sacramento and Minneapolis

Leaders of the Sacramento Philharmonic say the organization will be forced to shut down unless it can raise $150,000 in the next month and will need twice that to consider putting on a 2012-13 season, The Sacramento Bee reports.

The 15-year-old orchestra is facing an immediate budget crisis due to corporate donations falling well short of expectations. The organization's endowment has dropped from $1-million to $400,000 in the last five years as it has drawn on the fund to fill financial holes.

Jane Hill, the symphony's interim executive director, said the board will meet in late April to consider options that include closing and canceling or truncating the fall season.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Orchestra began high-stakes negotiations with its musicians this week, with management saying it must change "unsustainable fiscal practices" as the organization faces a record deficit, writes The Star Tribune.

Players' salaries account for 48 percent of the ensemble's $32-million budget, but musicians note that the call to cut costs comes as the orchestra is spending $50-million to renovate its primary venue, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, maintaining plans for tours and recordings.

In other arts news, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation released its list of 2012 fellows on Thursday, with 181 U.S. and Canadian artists, scholars, and scientists set to receive six- to 12-month grants to pursue creative projects, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The full list is available on the foundation’s Web site.