BSO lays off staffers
The recession — or is it the Great Depression II? — continues to take its toll on the local arts scene.
The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra laid off five of its 67 administrative employees and changed one full-time position to part-time today in an effort to reduce expenditures. Those moves, along with a decision not to fill select staff positions, will save the BSO about $500,000.
“We can see that the economic downturn is going to be a lot more prolonged than we had expected,” president/CEO Paul Meecham said. “Rather than wait until it is too late to make these expenditure reductions, we wanted to make this decision now.”
The BSO has seen a decline in single ticket sales and government grants this season. Meecham said that smaller gifts to the orchestra, those below $500, are down on average about 30 percent from last year. (Major gifts, those $10,000 and up, are holding steady.) And since Sept. 1, the orchestra’s endowment has dropped 23 percent in value to about $47 million. “We’re trying to do everything we can to cut costs and raise money,” Meecham said, “without cutting quality onstage.”