About a week ago word emerged from UC Santa Cruz that the campus-sponsored Arts & Lectures series would be discontinued in all but name at the end of the current season, with all of its associated personnel losing their jobs. The Santa Cruz Sentinel story about A&L is linked here and a letter from the university’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Relations to the program’s donors was posted to Arts & Lectures’ web site here.
UCSC Arts & Lectures has had a long and close relationship with KUSP; many of the visiting speakers that come to Santa Cruz are public radio people you hear on KUSP (David Sedaris, who gained fame on “This American Life,” appeared on October 26; NPR’s Scott Simon appeared last spring). A&L has depended on KUSP to help them publicize their events, and we’ve worked together on projects that we think are appreciated by our respective audiences – which overlap quite a lot.
It seems that UCSC saw no way it could continue its budgetary support for Arts & Lectures, and also saw no possibility that sufficient community support could be rallied behind the program – a situation far different than that experienced by Shakespeare Santa Cruz, which like A&L is part of UCSC.
Perhaps the strongest message to community supporters of the arts can take from this is, don’t wait for a warning shot from the sponsors of the programs you care about. Understand their financial and programmatic health and be there to help them when they need your support…