Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Arts Advocacy Update VII

Betting on the arts to revitalize the city
Providence Business News (RI), 7/16/2007
The town of New Bedford, Rhode Island, is seeing growth of its creative economy, and "[d]evelopers, city officials, nonprofit arts organization staff, artists and gallery owners are hopeful the trend will pull the city out of its economic malaise." According to one official, "[t]he mayor does not want to see any resident or artist priced out of the New Bedford market" -- but some artists are already "feeling pushed out of the market."
I've always liked Rhode Island...hey, Zach Mannheimer, have you thought about New England yet? Yes, I know, you're stuck in Amarillo or some such...

Facing the Music: TMV, Governor Huckabee and Five Questions
The Moderate Voice, 7/10/2007
In an interview with presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas Governor says that the key issue for public education is to nurture creativity. "[T]he secret weapons for becoming creative and competitive are art and music, our 'Weapons of Mass Instruction.' It infuriates me when people dismiss the arts as extracurricular, extraneous, and expendable. To me, they’re essential."
I love it, except for the fact that Huckabee, being a fairly right-wing conservative, is something of a hypocrite. Since he has gone out of his way, well out of his way, to align himself with hyper-conservative doctrine, then surely he must be able to acknowledge that the result of creativity -- thinking freely and inquisitively, the questioning of authority -- is more than likely going to be counterintuitive to his own best interests. For conservatism is not the vehicle by which people are able to think freely, to think inquisitively, to question authority, but the vehicle by which people are kept in their own little boxes.

Actor gets the credit for tax break to lure film makers
Patriot-News (Harrisburg, PA), 7/17/2007
In Pennsylvania, actor Paul Sorvino is credited with catalyzing a revision to the state's film tax credit that raises the cap to $75 million and covers 25 percent of cost of productions with budgets of at least $2 million -- provided that at least 60 percent is spent in the state.
Philadelphia, here I come!

Film companies lured by tax credits
Honolulu Advertiser (HI), 7/14/2007
"Hawaii has seen a surge in film and TV projects in the 12 months since the state began offering producers a refundable tax credit of up to 20 percent of expenses. Twenty-seven productions . . . have applied to take advantage of the new credits since they took effect July 1, 2006. . . . Tax credit critics question whether the state needs to stimulate the film and TV industry when the economy already is booming. There's also concern the credits are a bonus for companies that may shoot films and commercials in Hawaii anyway."
For those of you who are SAG members, the new issue of the union's in-house mag is in the mail, and there's a great two-page spread on the tax incentives in place in all 50 states -- or most of them.

Fund for the Arts delivers the goods
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 7/15/2007
Andrew Adler lauds the success of Louisville, Kentucky's Fund for the Arts, which this year raised $8 million for area arts organizations. Lead by an often controversial director, arguments also arise "about whether the fund is pursuing the proper goals and bolstering the proper groups. Should the fund concentrate exclusively on 'cornerstone' organizations or strive more aggressively to support emerging entities?"
Personally, I'd like to know more of the nuts and bolts of how this works -- and we should all keep an eye on this controversy, to the extent that it is one, is resolved.

Kresge pledges $6 million to metro arts programs
Detroit Free Press (MI), 7/18/2007
"Metro Detroit's arts and cultural community got a $6-million shot in the arm Tuesday from the Troy-based Kresge Foundation, which launched a new grant program that promises to funnel $2 million annually for three years to orchestras, museums, theaters and other groups in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The news could not have come at a more critical juncture for local arts groups, which have struggled to raise corporate and private dollars in Michigan's stagnant economy and replace the millions lost to severe cuts in state arts funding. The Michigan legislature approved an additional $3.6 million cut in June, bringing state funding to $6.5 million, its lowest level in decades. State arts funding has dropped 73% since 2000."
Economically, Michigan isn't in great shape, so this is a particularly good thing. That factoid about arts funding dropping 73% -- that's not a joke. It's been very, very bad.

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