A Living to Reflect Our City

by Diane McElfish Helle - GRS Violin


Grand Rapids has the third hottest economy in the country and the Grand Rapids Symphony

 is coming down the homestretch on its $40 Million endowment campaign.

 It’s a great time to be looking ahead and planning for our artistic future.

A peek into orchestra finances for the last six years shows that in

at least one area, there is some important catching up to do.


Here are a chart and two graphs that show how the livelihood of the

Grand Rapids Symphony Musicians has - and has not - changed

in both absolute terms and in relation to overall symphony expenses.

Update:  Based on the financial information currently available for the season just completed,

total Musician compensation for 2014-15 continued to stay below $4 Million, with the

percentage share of total expenses falling significantly to below 39% of total expenses.


 For some of us, visual representations communicate more vividly.

 The following two graphs illustrate the information from the above chart.

To view a graph that charts the growth of our city over the same period,

just turn the final graph upside down. Then ponder this question:


As the second largest Arts organization in the State of Michigan,

shouldn’t the Grand Rapids Symphony mirror the city’s growth and

commit to restoring and  improving the livelihood of its Musicians?