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Letter to the editor – Arts must wake up

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To the editor:

In response to your editorial [“Arts’ civic role critical,” Philanthropy Journal, 8/27/03], all I can say is: “Amen, amen, amen.”

As a former arts administrator and fundraiser with more than 20 years experience, I can only echo your words.

Moving to the human services sector here at The Healing Place of Wake County has given me a whole new vantage point on the development/fundraising game.

Because of these tight economic times, foundations, corporations and individuals are having to make hard decisions.

It is a cruel economic fact that in times like these, the arts are the first to suffer. Arts organizations that are still smug in their superiority will need to wake up and try new ways of doing things. As you keep saying, the tried and tested are not working.

I still counsel many struggling arts groups that are still unwilling and seemingly unable to make changes. I get so tired of hearing “But, we’ve always done it that way.”

Yeah, right, but is it working for you now?

I am reminded of a piece of wisdom that an old ad man once gave me: “Even if you’re on the right track, if you don’t keep moving, you’ll get run over.”

As usual, you were “on the money,” to turn the trite development phrase. I can only hope that arts groups take your advice and change their methodology before it’s too late.

— Allen Reep, director of development, The Healing Place of Wake County, Raleigh, N.C.

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