Arts Council England warns it will reject funding for 600 arts orgs
From The Guardian, January 25, 2011
Arts Council England admitted today that 600 arts organisations are likely to be denied funding as it begins the task of processing applications under more straightened circumstances. Giving evidence to the culture select committee, Dame Liz Forgan, the council's chair, said the 1,340 applications would be judged by 30 March, with no opportunity for appeal except through judicial review. The council's chief executive, Alan Davey, declined to speculate on how many organisations might go under as a result of rejection, saying some would be able to "shrink, recoup and come back" for funding next year or seek out alternative sources. He said the council would direct relevant applicants towards lottery funding where appropriate. Forgan said no organisation was off the table for potential cuts, including the larger opera houses and orchestras based in London, hinting that funding priority could be given to smaller organisations, particularly those working with young people. "Nothing too terrible will happen to the great established institutions if our funding to them is cut, but if we stop our funding to young talent then a whole generation of artists and audiences could be lost," she said. It is the first year the arts council has had an open application process, forcing long-term recipients of funding to compete with new applicants. A spokesperson said track records would be taken into account but new organisations would be "on a level playing field" with the rest.
As UK turns to private sector, corporate arts support is down 11%
From UK Wired, January 27, 2011
The amount of money businesses invested in UK arts last year fell by 11%. Arts and Business, which helps raise money for the cultural sector, said companies invested £144 million, down from £157 million the year before. It comes nearly two months after Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced plans for a "year of corporate giving" to help boost private funding. About 30% of FTSE 100 companies currently donate to the arts. Arts and Business said that although companies were committed to working with the cultural sector, they were not "hardwired" to do so. The UK recession resulted in the lowest investment from businesses since 2003/4. Simon Robey, chair of Royal Opera House, told the BBC it was "startling" so few of the UK's biggest companies were supporting the arts. Mr Hunt said he was hoping another 10 of the FTSE 100 companies would enter into a regular relationship with the cultural sector. He told the BBC he would try to "play cupid" and match businesses with arts organisations to boost funding. He added he thought corporate philanthropy was a good opportunity for banks to gain a better reputation. "If you are looking for ways to rehabilitate yourself in the public eye, then supporting things that really matter to society like the arts is an excellent thing to do," he said. Individual philanthropy was also down 4% to £359m, but an increase in funding from charitable trusts and foundations helped keep the overall decrease in private funding to 3%.
Commentary: Will Kansas become the only U.S. state without gov't arts funding?
Sarah Smarsh, writing on The Huffington Post, January 24, 2011
Newly elected governor Sam Brownback plans to issue executive orders eliminating the Kansas Arts Commission. If Brownback is successful, Kansas would be the only state in the nation without a state-funded arts commission. The justification, of course, is a budget deficit. But Henry Schwaller, chairman of the Commission, points out the half-million "saved" in the short term "will have a ripple effect on other sectors of the economy, and Kansas will actually lose money" -- $778,300 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, plus $437,767 in partnership money from the Mid-America Arts Alliance. Not to mention countless jobs in the public and private sectors. Ripple effect, indeed. Brownback, who threw his hat into the 2008 presidential election and likely has designs on the next one, views this move as draconian means of pleasing deep-pocketed ideologues. "Want to keep government out of, well, everything?" he seems to be saying. "Then I'm your man." The Arts Commission (which has suspended all FY2012 programs and grants) wisely has focused its defense on fiscal talking points, but many of us in the Sunflower State can't help but focus on what else we stand to lose: creative opportunity, education, collaboration, expression and joy. This solution to budget problems doesn't make sense. We'll find out soon whether the state legislature -- which may vote to reject Brownback's pending order -- agrees.
Commentary: Why a Kansas music teacher supports cutting state funding
Posted by Natalie Wickham on the Music Matters Blog, January 26, 2011
Music educators across the state are being called upon to send letters of opposition to the governor and legislators, urging them to vote against the proposed cut. But instead of opposing the cut, I strongly support it. We cannot continue to bemoan the fragile economic state of our state and nation, solicit those in positions of leadership to effect stability, and then throw up our arms in protest when "our" area is slated for the chopping block. It has to start somewhere. I just hope that it continues across the board. In a recent article in our local paper, a county commissioner and past board member for the art museum was quoted as saying, "...believe me, if this goes through, there are going to be managers in a lot of organizations in Sedgwick County who are going to have to work very hard to figure out where to find the operating money they will lose." While this was stated as a negative repercussion if the cut passes, it reminded me of a quote by Thomas Edison: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work." Obviously there are passionate views on both sides of this issue. I believe the arts community can not only survive government cuts, but can actually thrive as a result of them. But we must not act victimized! We have to see this as an opportunity to think harder, plan harder, and work harder to develop creative ideas and entrepreneurial ventures that are self-sustaining. Rather than depending on a government handout, we must be resourceful and devise new ways of reaching out to people and providing value in their lives in a way that will compel them to support the arts. The opportunity before us is great, so let's don the overalls and get to work!
Poll: Americans are split on cuts to government funding of the arts
From Gallup's website, January 26, 2011
[FROM TC: A USA Today/Gallup poll taken Jan 14-16 showed that, overall, a small majority (52%) of Americans opposed cuts to government funding for the arts and sciences. However, when viewed by party affiliations, 56% of Republicans (including independents who lean Republican) favor cuts to government funding compared to 35% of Democrats (including leaners).]