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Benvenuto Cellini
When the show doesn't go on

Some patrons of the arts are finding themselves in a new role these days: creditors. In April, George Merkle renewed a subscription for him and his wife to the San Antonio Symphony. In May, the symphony suspended its concert series and later declared bankruptcy, leaving subscription series ticket holders in the lurch. "The season, I think it was around $700, is down the drain," Merkle said. "I have to listen to the radio now." He recently received a letter from the bankruptcy court with a claim form to seek reimbursement. Reduced government funding and a sluggish economy has been devastating for arts groups nationwide and their patrons. Over the past 2 1/2 years,...