Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Good morning.
"And the beat goes on............................."

Still a lot on our plates:
Declining audiences, shifting philanthropic trends, government cuts, downsizing - a lot going wrong, but yet there is much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for the insightful intelligence of fellow bloggers; thankful for the Herculean and ceaseless efforts of the advocates across the country; thankful for the efforts of the foundation community and their leadership to keep it all alive; thankful for the policy wonks who ask the hard questions and the researchers who toil with the data to help us all.  I am thankful for artists and believers -- but most of all I am thankful for you -- the average arts administrator who labors unheralded day after day against formidable challenges, often times long into the evenings and weekends with precious little acknowledgment.  I am grateful for your dedication, for your passion, for your sacrifice and for your  caring so much about what you do.

I am thankful for the boomers who have stayed the course for decades, refusing to give up, and for the Xers and Millennials who choose to commit to the arts instead of something very likely more lucrative.  I am thankful that each of you gets up each morning and joins the battle anew even though I am sure there are days when it seems too much, days when you want to quit, days when you ask yourself "Why?", days when the onslaught of bad news may seen like an avalanche.

There are moments of joy and wonder in what we do; thrilling performances and awe inspiring exhibitions.  And there are the human moments of impact seen on the faces of everyone from seniors to children.  I am thankful to bear witness to that spark. There are victories and successes too, even if some seem pyrrhic.  The arts will always win out for creativity is central to humanity.  But you make it real, you help make it happen.  You are the keepers of the proverbial flame.

For it is all of you - often working isolated in big and small organizations all across the country in urban cities, in the suburbs and in rural towns - that keep alive the promise of what the arts do for all of us - for the kids and for our communities.  It is you who are the backbone of arts provision in this country.  It is you who believe what we do is important - that it means something.  And, let me assure you it DOES mean something - in means a great deal.

So because you probably don't hear it that often, let me shout it:  THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Thank you for your strength, for your character and integrity and thank you most of all for not quitting.  You are a remarkable class of people.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Don't Quit.
Barry

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