Just Because Someone Repeats It Doesn’t Make It True: Nonprofit Arts Organizations Must Serve a Charitable Purpose or Die Trying

Crossing fingers

Supposedly, Martin Van Buren wrote to Andrew Jackson imploring Jackson not to approve the railroads for fear of the loss of the canal system, citing mass unemployment, the closing of boating businesses, and the fear of trains moving at breakneck speeds of 15 mph.  It never happened.  I checked.

In W. P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, “If you build it, they will come” was actually “If you build it, he will come” and referred to the farmer’s father.  Not “If you build an arts center, thousands of new patrons will come, regardless of programming.”  Read the book.

There is another fabrication that arts organizations are nonprofits simply by being arts organizations.  It’s not true.  I checked.

All over the US, there are myriad arts nonprofits that don’t serve a charitable purpose.  Rightfully, foundations are noticing and diverting funds elsewhere.

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