These founding principles and artistic strategies continue to guide the organization today. But in growing in size throughout the '80s at its new location in the downtown theater district, Hallwalls necessarily enlarged its mission within the community to embrace wider and more diverse publics. The various Hallwalls programs began to grow in distinctly different directions, depending on the interests of their curators and what they perceived to be the needs of the fields and communities they served. These different directions were always unified, however, by Hallwalls' mission of bringing the newest and most challenging work in the contemporary arts to the interested public, whether in painting and sculpture, conceptual art, performance, fiction, jazz, new music, experimental film, video art and activism, documentary film, or any num-ber of other art forms which have come to make up Hallwalls' eclectic programming mix, recognized for its excellence nationally and internationally.
After a spurt of growth in the late '80s (roughly 1986-90), public arts funding at all levels was cut drastically. Hallwalls - like many organizations - was forced to cut back, both its overall budget and its staff size, although - by moving to its present facilities at the Tri-Main Center in 1993 - it actually grew significantly in terms of square-footage. The downward trend in public funding abated somewhat toward century's end, but has returned with a vengeance since 2000. By making painful but necessary cuts, joining forces with other organizations to share resources, and increasing both earned revenue and fundraising efforts, Hallwalls has managed to survive and carry on its mission. We actually have more members by far and many more people coming through our doors than in the late '80s and very early '90s when our budget was larger, as well as little noticeable decline in the number and variety of events and exhibitions taking place here each season. In fact, people are constantly astonished at the volume and range of our programming in so many different disciplines, and especially by the fact that we are able to achieve that with such a small core staff and on such a relatively small budget.