Friday, May 1, 2009

Support Motion to Restore Small Arts Grant program in 2010

On Tuesday, May 5 @ 4pm City Council's Arts Culture and Tourism Committee will take up the Qualls/Cole/ Monzel motion to restore funding to the competitive arts grant program for Small Arts Organizations.

Note that this motion restores only about a quarter of funds once pledged to arts organizations each year. Major arts organizations will continue to go unfunded in 2010 if this motion passes.

What can you do?
Attend and speak at the meeting on Tuesday. Prepare a 2 minute statement about the importance of city arts funding for organizations. Come to Council Chambers by 4pm. Go to the desk on the far right side of the room and fill out a yellow speakers card. Speakers are usually invited to speak before the start of the agenda.

If you can't attend the meeting call or email members of the Arts, Culture, Tourism committee.
ROXANNE QUALLS (author of the motion)

Support this motion but challenge our city to go farther and restore arts funding to both large and small organizations.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Update: 2 more weeks to let the finance committee know you favor fair arts grants

The Finance Committee of Cincinnati City Council decided to table the C Smith photography project proposal until their next meeting in 2 weeks in order to give Mr. Smith an opportunity to appear.

Kate Kern and I (Kristin Dietsche) both spoke at the meeting in favor of restoring the $20,000 budgeted for the C. Smith Photography project to the Individual Artist Grant program for this year.

No one spoke in favor of the proposal.

Council Member Chris Bortz prepared a motion to return the full $20,000 to the Arts grant program so that the funds could be awarded through the established process.

Council Member Leslie Ghiz has already signed this Motion.

Please email or call the other members of the Finance Committee (listed below) and let them know that you support a fair and open arts grant process.

Friday, April 17, 2009

29 Individual Artists Compete for Reduced City Funds

Twenty-nine Cincinnati artists have applied for 2009 City Individual Artist Grants of up to $6,000.

The bad news is that City Council’s last budget slashed funds available for these grants from  $35,000 to only $15,000.  

Council designated $20,000 for a pet project of former Council Member Cranley identified at the time only as the “C. Smith Photography Proposal.” This proposal bypassed the competitive artist grant program open to all Cincinnati artists and yet garnered over half the funds available.

The City Competitive Arts Grant Program for individual artists is a fair and open process where artists’ proposals and past work are carefully reviewed by a panel of their peers for innovation, professionalism, and benefit to the needs of our diverse community along with the artist’s ability to carry out the project.

The C. Smith Proposal bypassed this review, cutting to the head of a line of 29 other local artists who followed the rules and submitted project proposals, budgets, and work samples.

In addition, a report submitted by the City Manager enumerates “concerns” regarding Mr. Smith’s “ability to fulfill contractual responsibilities.” This report is public record. See full text at:

There is still time to fix this!  The Finance Committee of City Council votes Monday (4/20) on spending the $20,000 earmarked for the C. Smith Photography Proposal.

Please email the Finance Committee now and urge them to restore the $20,000 diverted from the grants program to Individual Artists who followed the process and agreed to compete in good faith for the limited funds available to fund the arts.

Please tell council that you favor fair artist grants not earmarks and pet projects.

Better still, tell them in person! Join me in speaking at the start of the Finance Committee meeting,

1:00 pm Monday 4/20 in Council Chambers

ask for a yellow speaker's card at the desk when you arrive

Members of the Finance Committee include:


JEFF BERDING, Vice Chairperson







Sunday, January 11, 2009

Has anyone noticed that Cincinnati City Council voted to eliminate all funding for arts organizations from the 2009 city budget?

Cincinnati City Council voted to eliminate all funding for arts organizations from the 2009 city budget. Reducing arts spending from the general fund by about $360,000.

This includes established support for the major organizations--(symphony, opera, art museum, playhouse, etc) AND the Competitive Arts Grant Program for Small Arts organizations. It also includes an end to the newly established fair-process capital grants for arts organizations.

To make matters worse, Council decided to award most of what little money was left for the arts to pet projects of their own,  undermining the established grant programs which were at least open to anyone eligible who wanted to apply. 

They left the arts community with $35,000 for individual artists, BUT Mr. Cranley decided that more than half --$20,000--of that should go to archive or exhibit the work of commercial photographer, C Smith, a project that would be ineligble for established competitive individual artist grants for up $6,000.

Similarly, all of the arts-related  capital funding ($250,000) will go to the new Clifton Cultural Art Center. a project selected for funding by Roxanne Qualls. 

Council has simultaneously eliminated most of the funding at the same time that they have substituted a granting system based on political earmarks and back room deals. 

Does anybody care? If you do, please post a comment, or better still make a suggestion for how we can organize to show that we do care.