Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Tower needs money.

Before anyone thinks I'm against the arts, especially the local arts, I think the Tower Theatre is a great institution. They fixed it up nicely, and it's a great addition to downtown. It deserves to be supported.

But that's just it. It will always NEED to be supported.

The Tower Theatre needs money again. Get used to it. Every few years, they'll be in need of a new infusion. It was always going to be a White Elephant. According to the Bulletin, 60% is paid by tickets, the other 40% has to come from other sources.

Just like private business, to be viable it needs to be able to run in bad times as well as good times.

The guest editorial, by the executive Director of the Tower Foundation, is a little disingenuous, talking about what a huge "success" the Tower is in the first half, and how it is coming up short of money in the second half. Success? Maybe he's talking in terms of art.

30+ events doesn't sound all that impressive to me. That would be one event every 12 days or so, or almost two weeks between events. Hard to see how that could ever make enough money to pay for itself.

Which it can't.

Again, I'm not against the Tower. I hope they can come up with the funds.

The only reason I'm talking about it is because I remember how this was sold to the public -- versus what has actually happened. If they had come to the public and said, "This is going to be a public supported art center," that would've been one thing. But I remember them telling us how it would be self-supporting, and anyone who pointed out that it probably never would be, was against the arts.

I'm sure most residents of Bend don't even remember how the money was raised for this -- not much institutional memory around here. But whenever someone tells me that a business model that obviously wouldn't work as a private enterprise is somehow magically going to work as a public enterprise because -- gosh, it's public -- then I'm extremely skeptical.

It will be interesting to see if the government steps in to help -- again.


The Natives Are Restless said...

You've got to remember one thing about the original promises made by the Tower group. Many of them came from Tom DeWolf, a guy that would tell anyone, anything, if it would further his cause.

Leitmotiv said...

I think the Tower needs to be booked 6 out of 7 days of the week. And another form of art is music. Maybe some musical acts like bands should play there.