Saturday, March 19, 2011

10 Completely Privately Funded Arts Councils in the State

This woman was arguing for supporting the proposed arts council with taxpayer dollars.  She made this point, and I think I interpreted a bit differently than she intended.

10 counties have arts councils that are not designated county partners (i.e., that are paid for exclusively with private funds), and they are in small rural areas of the state.
Sounds fine with me.

The main argument for the arts council truly seems to be that other counties have it, so we should too.  This is when state art agencies have seen a 19% drop in funding since 2008.
At a recent County Commissioner's meeting, one person said that every one dollar invested in the arts brings 14 back to the county.  The County Commissioners rightfully, I think, questioned her math.  Jason Thompson even called it 'voodoo math.'  From a distance, I'd have to agree.

I heard one thing the other night that greatly concerned me.  This wasn't reported in the paper, but a friend of mine was at a recent County Commissioner meeting when they were discussing funding the arts council and a Commissioner asked someone from the to-be arts council what they intend to do with the money if they got it.  The person responded that they had no plans.  They were waiting to see if they got approval.

Publicly funding an arts council does not seem to be a good idea.  If the city actually wanted to subsidize artists, which by the way I'm not advocating, it'd be much better to directly give out grants to artists than to form the council.

I forget the exact figure, but the overwhelming majority of funding is going to go to the salary of the person in charge.  I believe that person is supposed to have a salary of about $90k.  Ridiculous.

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