Funding for the Arts to See Cuts

knife by youngthousands

When times are tough and governments start cutting their budgets, arts programs are often the first to feel the pain.  Case in point, Arlington County is planning on cutting arts grants by 36% next year, an equivalent of $100,000, while DC is proposing a 10% or $1 million cut (PDF) to its operating budget.  As a patron of the arts, this isn’t something I like to hear about, but understand that other spending generally takes precedence over the arts.  Susan Kalish of Arlington County’s parks and recreation department says, “Arts or cops? The county’s got to make a tough decision.”

My hope is that as the economy improves in the years to come, arts funding will go back up.  If you’d like to speak your mind about the arts budget cuts in DC, stop by to testify at the budget hearing for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities on April 27th at 10AM.

Hailing from the Mile High City, Max has also lived in Tinsel Town, the Emerald City, as well as the City of Brotherly Love. Now a District resident, he likes to write about cool photos by local photographers, the DC restaurant and bar scene, or anything else that pops into his mind.

2 thoughts on “Funding for the Arts to See Cuts

  1. Pingback: “Philanthropists’ ‘Soft Power’ May Trump the Hard Pull of Purse Strings” [News, 4.19.10] « Washington Grantmakers Daily

  2. I think that is the major part of the ongoing hemorrhaging of arts funding by communities and schools with public funds.

    “Arts or Cops”.

    That is stacking the deck against the arts from the word go. As though because the arts are not the police, the are a luxury as opposed to a necessity in a community.

    The key to recitifying this, (a goal that the arts communities in this country have failed miserably to obtain) is to more effectively convey this message to CITIZENS as opposed to lawmakers. Lawmakers can make flippant statements such as “Should we spend money on keeping our community safe, or on people rolling around naked in chocolate to the music of Bach.”

    That plays well because that is the impression of the Arts that people in the know have allowed to sink in with everyday people. So instead of asking for more money and decrying said cuts, it’s time to convince the people what they will be missing if there are no arts budgets. Missing cops pose an obvious problem; let’s make missing arts equally obvious.

    Schools never cut football as a result of budget cuts. (Or basketball, whatever their prime sport is.) They will cut food budgets, lay off support staff, and in some cases even purchase cheaper books for the student before they eliminate an entire football program and tear down the field to save money.

    Why? Athletics do a better job of convincing the community that despite not being academic, they are VITAL. And the community sees it that way. What has been done for football can be done for the arts.