The past two years have been tough ones for artistic and cultural organizations in Seattle and across the U.S. That’s why Kelly Tweeddale’s new piece on Crosscut, “How Seattle Opera Is Surviving Tough Times,” stands out like a beacon.
As executive director of the Seattle Opera Association, Tweeddale presides over an organization that she openly admists “has been at battle with multiple enemies,” including a precarious economy, rapid changes in the way that audiences engage the arts, and the institutional risk-aversion that takes hold when money is tight.
And yet she writes that the Opera has not only survived, but even flourished this year; earlier this month, the Opera reported that it expects to have a balanced budget for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. Tweeddale attributes this remarkable victory to an “amazing army” of people on and off the stage, from hard-working marketers, human resource directors, finance and development staff, and trustees, to the many talented musicians and singers that light up the Opera stage.
The Seattle Opera’s story this year is a refreshing reminder of the power of determined artists and the professionals who support them – and the loyal audience that supports the whole operation. And, above all, it shows how much can be achieved by fighting for arts and culture, even in tough times.