In today’s Washington Post, I write about the Friday Morning Music Club’s move yesterday out of its long-time home at the Charles Sumner School Museum. This was to have been a dramatic event involving a crane hoisting the club’s Steinway out of a third-floor window: fortunately for everyone, the club found a piano mover who was able to get the instrument out by elevator. The FMMC will start its 125th anniversary season on October 7 at its new home at Calvary Baptist Church in Penn Quarter.
This story was sadly involved with DC budget cuts: the Sumner School Museum didn’t have enough staff to keep accommodating extra groups, and the Friday Morning Music Club couldn’t access its archives to find needed documentation because those archives are in the library of the Historical Society of Washington, which is temporararily closed due to lack of funds.
Some commenters on this story have observed that the club should be thrilled it got a free ride for so long. Other readers feel this club is a venerable Washington institution and should be able to find accommodation in a municipal facility. This story has a happy ending; but the question of performance space — where to find it, and how to pay for it — looms large for most small arts organizations.
What are your thoughts? Are churches a better home for arts organizations than museums? Does Washington have a responsibility to its performers, particularly as the city’s cultural funding plummets, and if so, what?