THE DSO: BLOWING ITS OWN HORN

THE NUMBERS GAME Skeptics say the Dallas Symphony Orchestra is an elitist organization catering to a small, moneyed clientele. If that’s so, then elites are a lot bigger than they used to be. In its application for a $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the DSO Association says that a cool half-million people, 238 times the capacity of the Mort, will enjoy the orchestra’s various offerings this year. By our calculations, the actual audience will fall short of the estimated number by about the population of Corpus Christi.

The DS0, it appears, puffed up its audience projections for 1989-90 by basing them on 1987-88, which included 188,000 people who had attended Starfest. For the period applied for, which includes summer 1989, there was no Starfest.

Officials with the National Endowment for the Arts, perhaps preoccupied by photographs of gay men with bullwhips, say that audience claims are just one of many factors that go into their evaluation. But they recommended that only $1X1,000 of the DSO’s request be granted. And what can the DSO do to attract the couple of hundred thousand taxpayers who gave at the IRS and were included in their rosy scenario? Maybe they can find a nice baseball diamond out in the middle of a cornfield…

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