The Bexar County Commissioners Court approved to use $350,000 from existing funding sources as a matching contribution for the San Antonio Symphony 2018 season.
During the Friday meeting, the commissioners discussed the need to find ways to improve the orchestra’s finances.
They noted several potential areas that needed change.
One, mentioned by Judge Nelson Wolff, was looking into keeping ticket sale operations at other events like Spurs games locally, using the processing fees to help fund the arts.
Another, mentioned by Commissioner Tommy Calvert, is looking at the symphony’s expenses.
“The elephant in the room is best said by a New York man that the ‘rent is too damn high,'” Calvert stated in the meeting. “I think the rent at the Tobin [Center for the Performing Arts] is too much for the symphony.”
Wolff said other orchestras across the country are generally funded by corporate sponsors.
“The symphony has no endowment. That is a big, big detriment,” Wolff stated. “I’ll sit down and call on some business people who you would think are pretty smart, but they don’t have an appreciation for the symphony.”
He said more work needs to be done to get San Antonio businesses to see the value of being involved with the symphony.
The judge stated that both the city and county are together committed to keeping the San Antonio Symphony in operation.
“We’re both committed to a full-time, first-class orchestra,” said Wolff.
He said there was one way the city could free up some cash to cover some of the symphony’s expenses.
“What do you make? An average $32,000-33,000 a year?,” the county judge asked symphony officials. “We can just split up the city manager’s salary and we’d have all of you paid.”