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  • gruds

    “… a climate change every bit as alarming, in its own right, as Mother Earth’s.”

    Oh come on. Climate change has the potential to wipe out our species and most other life on the planet. Reductions in art budgets, education, and visibility impacts quality-of-life, not the presence of life itself. Sheesh, you’d think a theatre reporting organization would know a bit about the pitfalls of melodrama.

    As to the article/book review:

    Some of this is “The Arts'” fault, and some of it is politics, and a lot of it is the unfortunate economic environment those two have created. When you strip the middle class of their purchasing power, and leave them making hard decisions vis-a-vis entertainment vs. quality of shelter/food/clothing, yeah, entertainment loses. Education and careers in entertainment lose. This author and this publication may resent STEM education for stealing market share, but look at the demands “The Arts” make on their practitioners. Let me give you a millennial’s-eye-view: I can get an incredibly expensive degree in a field. My career path now involves going from audition to audition and working for free for years, all while scraping by on minimum wage jobs, in the hopes that I might land that <0.01% chance at a either an extremely lucrative role or a steady job at a repertory theater. I will probably not succeed, because there is such limited demand for directors, actors, dancers, etc. relative to supply, and so I am doomed to quit and find non-arts work, or eke out a meager existence under the weight of the cripplingly expensive loans my overpriced degree will never be able to pay for.

    Compare this with the value proposition of a STEM degree. My degree is still expensive, but there are lots of jobs in my field. There is high demand in the market for my skills. I can get a steady job to pay off your loans, such that they are no longer cripplingly expensive. Maybe I have to trade off on my passions a bit, but at least I enjoy my work and can achieve more of my non-career life goals.

    Which of these sounds better for a life, where you might want a home, a car, a spouse, children? Hint: it isn't performing arts. I double-majored in STEM and Theatre Arts (Acting/Directing) – take a guess which one I work in now.

    This dichotomy is expressed in the ad right below this text box. "ARTSEARCH," it says. "Access up to 350 positions online! Hundreds of job opportunities!" Hundreds? Nationwide? Contrast that with hundreds of thousands of open positions in STEM.

    Reality is cold, and wishful thinking isn't going to fix it. Theater has two competing problems – the economy demands that it charge less, while the need for fresh, new art demands that it pay its people more. So far, it's been doing the exact opposite of that – raising ticket prices and reducing workforces. If you want to fix the problem, at least pick ONE solution. And then join the effort to do something about out-of-control income inequality. Vote for representatives who will bolster the middle class and expand arts grants. If the donation model isn't going to fly anymore due to a lack of arts education, change the model. Or do the arts education yourself – allocate some resources to find ways to make fine arts knowledge accessible (but more importantly, valuable) to today's low-arts-familiarity populace and then do it. And while you're doing all that, stop trying to scapegoat people/industries/fields that actually do spend their time trying to adapt to the changing cultural/technological landscape, while you refuse to. Find a way to float on the rising seas, or sink.

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