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SPCO forced to make cutbacks after loss of corporate funding

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The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra performing in March 2015.
The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra performing in the inaugural concert at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in March 2015
Nate Ryan | MPR 2015

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra announced Thursday that the organization has to cut some programming and three staff positions after losing some corporate support.

"The SPCO has recently been informed of significant shifts in corporate funding affecting many arts organizations in the Twin Cities, which will result in a loss of $230,000 to $300,000 in annual operating support for the SPCO next year and beyond," the orchestra said in a news release Thursday.

The statement said the organization can't generate enough revenue from other sources to make up for the loss.

The orchestra did not identify which corporate funder or supporters were undertaking funding shifts affecting area arts organizations.

But in January, it emerged that Target was quietly telling grant recipients that it will no longer be supporting some of the causes it has supported in the past.

Target officials could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

The SPCO will stop sponsoring a contemporary chamber music series, Liquid Music, and discontinue pre-concert discussions starting next season.

The SPCO leadership team said it is working with Kate Nordstrum, curator of Liquid Music, on a transition plan in hopes that the series will can continue beyond its three final projects with the SPCO.

"Liquid Music has great value and deep support in our community after seven seasons of exciting growth at the SPCO," said SPCO managing director and president Jon Limbacher. "While we are no longer able to support it financially, we are confident it will continue to thrive in its next phase under Kate's leadership. We will do all that we can in this transition to help make that possible."

The SPCO said it has been balancing budgets for 23 years of the last 25 years — a rarity in the orchestra field.

The ensemble opens its 61st season in September.