Friday, July 06, 2007

Arts Advocacy Update V

Baltimore Observed
The Urbanite Magazine, July 2007
"The pace of redevelopment in the arts and entertainment district at Station North in Baltimore is quickening. "Will it become the mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood it aspires to be? Or will it go the way of SoHo" -- where artists "clear the path" and others "come in behind and reap the benefits"? The Artist Relocation Program in Paducah, Kentucky, and Artspace in Minneapolis offer models for how to retain affordable space -- and artists."
The issues here obviously resonate far beyond do we ensure that artists who put in the sweat equity to gentrify a neighborhood have opportunities to "reap the benefits" of their work. The League of Independent Theaters is going to be dealing with this same issue, I hear, at the July 31 convocation at Collective Unconscious.

Some push for arts in core curriculum
Boston Globe, 7/1/2007
In Massachusetts, "[a]rts advocates are pushing the state Department of Education to make arts education a bigger part of recommended high school graduation requirements, which list music, art, and related subjects as electives. The state, for the first time, has been drawing up a list of courses it would like all high schools to require, at a minimum, though the final decision remains with the school systems. Most high schools generally do not require art and music for graduation, but art groups say they want schools to be forced to require more arts. Otherwise, the arts will be cut even further in financially strapped schools, the advocates say."
Bravo. Would that NYC schools were as fully smart about this.

A $150 million spending spree
Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/7/2007
"If City Council gives its blessing next week, Mayor Street will wrap up his two-term tenure by spending his final months in office sprinkling $150 million among dozens of arts organizations, as well as neighborhood business and cultural strips throughout the city. . . . [D]ecisions about the recipients of these dollars will be made this summer."
Read this story. It's not quite as simple as it seems. That said, if all the money were to be spent in a single fiscal year, that would mean more money was being spent on the arts in just the city of Philadelphia than the entire presumed NEA budget for next year.

Montana Enhances Big Sky Filming Incentives
Shoot, 6/29/2007

"The Montana legislature and Gov. Brian Schweitzer have passed a measure that improves the Big Sky on the Big Screen Act, an incentives program designed to help the state keep and attract filming business. The initiative continues to apply to varied forms of filmmaking, including feature, TV programs, documentaries and commercials."
And I remember a few years ago when the worry was that all the film production was rushing to Canada. Now, a majority of the states have some sort of film incentive legislation on the books.

Preservation Deal Uses $230M Fund (New York, NY), 6/28/2007
"Shaun Donovan, housing commissioner of New York City, teamed with foundations and banks to create what is being called the first preservation agreement through the New York City Acquisition Fund for affordable housing. The agreement, which was created in collaboration with nine philanthropies and financial institutions, include the preservation of 283 occupied low- and moderate-income apartments. The acquisition fund is a $230-million initiative that is designed to both build and preserve 30,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. Of the 165,000 units, 73,000 are existing homes that will be preserved as affordable housing."
Very interesting story. We should all be paying attention to how this project develops.

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