Saturday, July 9, 2011

ARTS NEWS: The Initman Is Apparently Bankrupt

I don't mean they ran out of money (although that did happen). I mean they seem really bankrupt.

Here's the kind of response Paul Mullin got when he reposted their call for ideas:
Keri Healey It makes me furious that the timeline for this research into the future artistic direction of the theater is framed by the board (at least in this article) as important "if we want to start approaching funders." Right back to the old dependent-on-funders model that got them where they are. Why not rethink that construct, too, as they look at alternatives for operating models? What I wonder about is how the implosions at Intiman and Giant Magnet might change the way local funders look at all arts organizations in the coming years. I suspect the level of trust funders have with arts organizations dropped quite a bit recently.Jim Jewell Keri, you are without doubt right on. We need to develop a different stance, more proactive and self-sufficient and more engaged with the audience, if we are going to win back that trust.
Or this one:
Stephen McCandless I maintain that the Intiman doesn't need "new ideas". The management was totally incompetent. To shut down in the fashion they did sternly suggests that their operating principle was "How can we be broke, we still have checks."


Stephen McCandless (continuing) They went over budget, spent their reserves, spent their endowment - all over the course of several years. And when their MD leaves suddenly and suspiciously, only then do they cop to a problem - and even then have no idea how large it is until an outside consultant set them straight. There [was] no one at the wheel. Nobody paying attention. No administration. You can't just let go of the steering wheel and they claim you need "new ideas" about vehicle suspensions. YOU DON'T. YOU NEED A DRIVER. Who authorized the spend-down of a one-million-dollar endowment and didn't simultaneously raise concerns about the theatre's finances? Who? It took years for this to go wrong. Years. And they act like it's an emergency that reflects on the state of American Theatre. Talk about a sense of entitlement. I might as well try doing a cartwheel and then talk about how the resulting trauma reflects on the state of American Gymnastics and our chances for gold at the next Olympics.

Now, I don't know almost anything about the Initman or about the community around it, but even if -- and this is a massive even if, it sounds like -- even if they've done nothing wrong, they have not only depleted their money, but they've depleted the goodwill of their community. I haven't read anything that backs up the Initman since their saga began. Who is going to work with them? Who is going to subscribe?

If my arts organization depleted its community that deep, I wouldn't even bother worrying about money troubles. This is a deeper and far more troubling form of bankruptcy.