Culture in Contagious Times.

By: Frank Cadenhead. The photo below – two recent front page features in a regional newspaper in France – suggests just how high the visibility is of the world of culture in France. It also suggests the wide concern about this world which is usually centered around a public assembly in these pandemic times. Art openings, operas, concerts, theater – they all depend on large gatherings.

Many major institutions are making past recordings of their performances available on the internet – most all for free – but those of us who actually make their way to the halls for live performance know that there is no substitute for experiencing the event together with others. The recordings, however well-captured, are not the same experience.

I am pleased to be in a country who values the performing arts as an important part of the national ideal. The 100 billion Euro “recovery” budget for France includes 2 billion for the support of the arts. While only 2% of the total, it will provide important support. No government aid is planned for US arts, for example, and their future – depending on strong ticket sales and the deep-pockets of the wealthy – is not assured and is a concern for all performing arts administrators.

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