Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
Following in the footsteps of City Opera and Santa Barbara Opera, Florida Grand Opera in Miami is now struggling financially to stay afloat. Their problem financial woes began in 2006 when they moved to a bigger and much more expensive performance venue at the same time key donors were backing away from the organization. Since moving to new venue, the company has significantly reduced the operating budget to try and makes ends meet. This has resulted in smaller and fewer productions, and unfortunately for FGO and the opera world at large, this is not enough. The situation is forcing the company to pursue other ways to capture revenue by launching a $17.5 million fundraising campaign, hosting public meetings, amping up their educational outreach programs, adjusting their programming, developing side projects like Unexpected Opera in Unexpected Places, and instigating new partnerships with local organizations. The company is going full throttle in trying to appeal to new audiences.
“The hope is to stabilize finances enough to plan ahead, without having to worry about annual deficits, and to create the programming and marketing that will broaden their audience and appeal.”
Many spectators worry that this is a goose chase for Florida Grand. This is because they believe that the current Miami culture is not conducive to established fine art groups. This is evident in that other major groups like Florida Philharmonic and the Coconut Grove Playhouse recently folded and the New World Symphony has been forced to downsize. Though many aspects of the art industry are thriving in Miami, some are concerned FGO’s attempt to reach new audiences may be in vain. The results of Florida Grand’s efforts to reach new audiences will be a good barometer for other arts organizations trying to make ends meet in similar, volatile markets.