Friends of the arts in Madison,
I wanted to take a moment to discuss some recent news about our ongoing efforts here in Madison and how that relates to what we do everyday for our community as an organization.
We’ve prided ourselves on providing awesome programming, and yes, we’ve done that for nearly 50 years, and yes, we can proudly claim our legacy at the state’s original arts council, need not mention the multiple visits of the Guthrie Theatre, or an early Prairie Home Companion broadcast in 1980, and today, with our Double Header and music festivals, and the restoration of our home, The BrickHouse Community Arts Center.
We’ve sure loved every moment, and yes, it hasn’t been easy to make these programs happen in a community of our size, and yes literally all this happened through the hundreds of volunteers, artists, musicians, and even a few directors, all of whom have made the arts part of our communities rich fabric. And we continually thank everyone for literally investing their time and passion into this big cultural experiment called an arts council, we’ve accomplished some great things over all these years, and hopefully, we’re still friends after all that.
But, we’ve been operating under the optimistic impression, that if we continued to build and provide great programing, and free and open to the public programming at that, our community would respond in kind, partnerships would be developed, which it often has in years past, but now, sadly we’ve entered a point to where things haven’t gone the way we needed to maintain a viable and financially stable organization, and still preserve our mission to the fullest, and that is something we’re not eager to admit, and yes, this isn’t our best moment, and yes, there’s a list of choice words waiting to be uttered, but we’ll say this, it sucks, we all could agree to that.
So what just happened?
Well, the latest concerns we face as an organization amount to the lack of proper insurance coverage we’ve been operating under for the past several years, under the false assumption that our kind of variety-based programming was indeed insurable and recognized under our current liability policy. As it now stands, we were mistaken, and now we face a dynamic rise of our insurance premiums, and hence, we’re unable to maintain our programs and our facility within our current budget restraints, and realistically, we must question the worth of investing our very limited resources to provide for a growing insurance premium, one which still doesn’t allow for the type of programs we desire. And as they say, that’s our business problem, and we have to deal with it.
So, we’re going to take a break to deal with it, after this Saturday’s damn right fantastic program at The BrickHouse, we will unfortunately begin formal discussions on restructuring the mission and role of our organization, which will result in a pause in our daily operations for the immediate future, and yes, unfortunately, we may be forced to address the possibility of simply calling it quits. We didn’t say this was gonna be an easy thing to digest.
Yet, we believe in our community, and we believe in the programming we’ve offered, and we thank everyone who has helped us make all of this possible for the many years, 48 years at that, thank you for that! And yes, we hope all this works out, but if you loved the arts and what we’ve done, come on out this Saturday, we’re gonna throw one hell of a good party.
President of the finest arts organization around, the Madison Area Arts Council, and I’ll still say that no matter what.