“The arts are in trouble,” writes James E. Canales, president and chief executive officer of the philanthropic James Irvine Foundation, in Tuesday’s (2/3) San Francisco Chronicle. “Some [arts institutions] are severely cutting programs; others are on the verge of closing. The arts are particularly vulnerable because they rely upon ticket sales and memberships, which are often among the first to be cut from consumer spending during an economic crisis. At the same time, the philanthropic revenues that arts organizations rely on—from government sources, foundations, corporations and individual contributions—all stand at risk today, given shrinking endowments and discretionary income. Thankfully, arts leaders are applying their creative powers to these economic challenges, thus finding new ways to cut costs or raise revenues. … But all the creative ideas to keep the doors open won’t be enough if we don’t fundamentally change our collective understanding of why the arts matter. … There are countless reasons why we should renew our commitment to the arts. Consider the following: In the Bay Area, the arts create more than 31,000 jobs and generate $1.2 billion in economic activity every year; the arts produce $105 million in local and state tax revenue for the Bay Area (far more than the government spends on the arts). … The arts expand our horizons, unleash creativity and build social bonds. During this period of unsettling change, the arts can provide us with pleasure and comfort, while also challenging us to see the world in new ways.”