The Economy on ICE

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As the ramifications of 2008’s global financial meltdown become more and more apparent, arts organizations, often privately-funded not-for-profits, are feeling the blow of this crisis in an evermore palpable way. We’ve all been reading of the struggle or even collapse of many symphony orchestras. Chamber music series have drastically cut back their offerings. Venues are being forced to close their doors.

Most recently, one of my favorite venues, the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, has had to cancel several concerts because of dire economic straits (the historic theater combines the arrested decay of BAM’s Harvey Theater crossed with the intimacy of the Kitchen, plus some totally amazing curation). However, even as arts funding dwindles, more and more groups are finding unconventional ways to get art out to audiences, despite what may seem like impossible circumstances.

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), which was slated to perform at the Southern this past Tuesday, has come up with an ingenious way to get their performance, which was to feature music commissioned by their innovative ICELab program, including two world premieres by composer Phyllis Chen, out to audiences, economy-be-damned! Q2 and ICE are teaming up to bring you a fantastic videocast of their show (recorded live at the ICE's studio in Brooklyn) featuring works by Ms. Chen, Steve Lehman and Mario Diaz de León right here!

Live from the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway | ICElab from ICE on Vimeo.

I couldn’t be more saddened that the Southern was forced to cancel this show. I’m also so excited that ICE has continued to innovate and provide its audience with a way to access this exciting evening of music. 

While we are so excited to have the opportunity to present this concert, let’s all take this moment to really think about the future of the arts. Help local arts organizations! Go to concerts! Find innovative ways to present the arts! Make art! Consume art! It’s now or never.