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.