In Wednesday’s (12/21), Douglas McLennan writes about an article by Adrian Ellis in the January 2017 issue of Apollo, an arts magazine. McLennan: “What caught my eye is one of the accompanying charts showing what percentage of their budgets New York’s major museums earn in revenue. Even charging $25 admission, the Whitney Museum of American Art only earns eight percent of its budget from admissions. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is close behind at 12 percent and Museum of Modern Art is at 17 percent. Compare this to data about symphony orchestras, released a few weeks ago” in the League of American Orchestras’ Orchestra Facts: 2006-2014. “On average, earned income accounts for an average 40 percent of orchestra budgets. … Arts business models are constantly adjusting. The financial mix that was considered healthy 20 years ago is different than what is now considered normal. One key factor is balancing the cost of attending (ticket price) with accessibility. … The point is that they’re all philanthropic models. The only question is how much of a subsidy can be justified or practically raised. And, as earned income declines as a percentage, that is increasingly a political question about who we want our audiences to be.”

Posted December 23, 2016