It’s the season of arts and craft fairs, and the Nutcracker Market 2010 is one of the largest. A sale that supports the Houston Ballet, the Nutcracker Market 2010 is a three-day event at the Reliant Center. In a time when arts funding is hard to come by, events like the Nutcracker Market 2010 keep the arts in business.
Nutcracker Market 2010 basics
The Nutcracker Market 2010 is being held at the Reliant Center in Houston, Texas. The 30th annual sale was opened by former First Lady Barbara Bush, who also opened the fair in 1981. There are 325 vendors at the Nutcracker Market 2010, covering a range from high-class to shabby chic. The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $12 at the door or $11 if pre-purchased.
Funding the Houston Ballet
The Nutcracker Market 2010 is expected to draw more than 85,000 shoppers. Last year, the Nutcracker Market sold almost $14 million worth of merchandise and raised about $2.5 million to support the Houston Ballet and its assorted related organizations. The Houston Ballet operates with a budget of about $20 million per year and is the fourth largest ballet company in the nation. The money to fund the Houston Ballet comes from ticket sales, endowments and fund-raising events like the Nutcracker Market 2010.
The problem of arts funding
Nonprofit arts organizations like the Houston Ballet are always in a challenging situation. In general, performing arts organizations have a high fixed cost and limited audience, meaning that they are difficult to fund at times. With the recession, fewer people are donating to or making use of arts and performing arts organizations, and across the nation they are being forced to cut events, budgets and performances. Events like the Nutcracker Market 2010 represent an important development — large fundraising efforts that help arts organizations support themselves. However, the Nutcracker Market 2010 will likely provide only about 10 percent of the Houston Ballet’s budget. This means that arts funding, like all other nonprofit funding, will continue to face a challenge.