bigger buildings may not be better

Now the economic downturn has reined in a lot of these big dreams and has also led to questions about whether ambitious building projects from Buffalo to Berkeley ever made sense to begin with. Some are arguing that arts administrators and their patrons succumbed to an irrational exuberance that rivaled the stock market’s in the boom years.

The Times has a not-so-timely article on the building boom in the arts sector. I don’t expect, even with the downturn, to see any real innovation in the arts sector. The people who are in charge of capital campaigns and who are deeply invested in the financial infrastructure, while making a lot of noise, don’t seem to be really interested in changing.  Not only that, but the downside of professionalization is calcification – innovation wont’ happen when so many people have their livelihoods at stake in propping up the status quo.  The building boom was a symptom, not a disease.


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