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Rhode Island Jobs in the Arts Suffering

Posted on February 18, 2009

Rhode Island jobs in the art industry are continuing to suffer because of the declining economy.

As various arts organizations continue to feel the effects of the economic recession, restaurants and the leisure and hospitality industry as a whole are also feeling the effects. A study released in October 2008 by the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts noted that contributions and ticket income have seen a significant increase, even though ticket sales are stable.

“This continues to be a significant problem for all Rhode Islanders, not just the many who enjoy and participate in the arts,” Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director of the State Arts Council, said in a press release. “The arts contribute significantly to our state’s economy.

“Yet the arts organizations that help fill our restaurants and parking garages are fragile, and can be seriously affected by a poor economy,” Rosenbaum continued. “If conditions require organizations to cut programs or fire staff, the impact will be profound, not just for those organizations and artists but also for all the sectors of our economy that depend on an active arts scene.”

An updated report shows that 68 percent of arts organizations feel things are worse now than they were in October 2008. An even higher percentage of arts organizations report a downturn in contributions when compared to October. Both large and small arts organizations are seeing more of a decline than during October.

Ticket sales continue to suffer as well. Although only half of all arts organizations report a decline in ticket sales, almost all report ticket revenue has significantly decreased. More people are purchasing single tickets, discounted tickets or lower priced seats, as well as waiting until the last minute to purchase tickets.

“Any cultural program slowdown in Rhode Island affects so many financial bottom-lines,” Dr. Bob Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, said in the press release. “Our cultural organizations provide one of the chief reasons people travel to our state.

“Many businesses rely on arts and cultural program successes to support their own businesses,” Billington added. “So if programs falter, business slowdowns will follow. We should do all we can to insure success the “geotourist” activities of our state provide.”

Mystic River Press
Sun Chronicle
Johnston Sunrise
Cranston Herald
Sakonnet Times
Portsmouth Times
The Express