By some measures, the fine arts have been enjoying a boom. The number of U.S. nonprofit arts organizations has grown exponentially, from a few thousand in the 1960s to more than 50,000 today. Not only are there more organizations, many individual institutions have grown significantly in size. Bolstered by ever-larger donations and endowments, leading symphonies, museums, and theaters have built larger and more opulent spaces and vastly increased their programming. To support these new...

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