This Save the Amman Symphony Orchestra campaign is text book example of how cultural managers sell poverty. It's an insult to the arts. It opens a flood gate of questions about how the arts are generally perceived and funded in Jordan. And spotlights 1001 questions about cultural management and the workers within.
Their sense of entitlement that the government is the lifeline of the orchestra really baffles me. These are creators. There is an endless list of activities and products they can create to generate income to begin restructuring themselves independently instead of this appalling sense of expectation for a savior. If this is the attitude of people in culture and the arts, and all they can think of is a begging bowl petition, they really need a soulful rethink. Otherwise, just pack up.
Thanks to the former mayor et al for instilling this pathetic epidemic. And to the legacy of the defunct Ministry of Culture and various cultural departments across the public sector. It seems that the ASO management were handed a free ride without any requirement for ongoing sustainability. And of course, they hopped on and never paused for reflection. How long was this realistically going to continue for? And how far can a sense of entitlement fuel them?
Since their plea, the ASO management have been approached by several people asking them about budgeting details, offering fundraising activities, and proposing creative, proactive revenue generating ideas. They have either refused the such or simply been non-responsive. But the begging bowl continues to make rounds.
With this kind of cultural welfare attitude and rentier mentality, my only question is: where is the kill switch?
Time to liberate the true musicians and creators from the clutches of bad management and demonstrate that audiences and markets care about their work if they're willing to go the distance together.