Nonprofit Arts Organizations Without Flexibility Present a Disconnect When It Really Matters


On September 12, 2001, we issued an internal memo at our nonprofit arts organization.  We proffered the notion that standing by our programming and “moving forward” was the best way to fight back.

We were wrong.  Putting on blinkers never helps.

On June 12, 2016, after one attack in Orlando and a foiled one in Santa Monica – key nonprofit arts organizations are right now readying memos rationalizing the same advice.

Move forward.  That’ll show ‘em.

At what tipping point do we scrap activities to reflect the damage inflicted on people?  Why must we wait for a year to see the first artistic responses?  Why not now?  Why worry about the production quality of said response?  As nonprofits, when do we sacrifice our comfort zone to provide leadership to our communities for some resolution?

Or should we just move forward?  Yet again?


One response

  1. R. Michael Gros | Reply

    At the time of the September 11 attack I was the artistic director of a resident professional theatre company, PCPA. We were in production and I had to make the call as to cancelling performances or continuing on as scheduled. After consulting with staff, including one who’s father was working in the Pentagon the day of the attack (who was fortunately, unhurt – something not discovered for 24 hours!) I determined we would go forward as scheduled. Fortunately, we were not scheduled for a performance until 48 hours later. I wrote an insert to our programs with a statement as to why we continued to perform. A few days later I received a letter from a patron who had survived the London Blitz. He clearly stated that he understood the decision to “carry on” was a difficult one, but one he praised. Without going into detail of my insert and the patron’s letter, I can only say that I still feel it was the right decision at the time.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: