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