Saturday, July 28, 2007

Arts Advocacy Update VIII

3 Nonprofit Groups Get a Manhattan Deal: $1 a Year
New York TImes, 7/18/2007
In New York City, three non-profits, including a comprehensive poetry library called Poets House and a branch of the New York Public Library, are being given spaces to rent in Battery Park for $1 per year -- until the year 2069. "Whenever the Battery Park City Authority puts an undeveloped parcel of land up for bid, it requires developers to include public amenity space in their proposals. . . . [A]t Riverhouse, a residential development under construction in Battery Park City, the authority has leased all of the public amenity space in the building to outside cultural institutions."
No theatres in any of this, but the background information is important to know about...

Poll: Residents want new arena, arts center, upgraded stadium
Orlando Sentinel (FL), 7/24/2007
"A just-released poll found that just over half of Orange County residents support a plan to build a new Orlando Magic arena, performing arts center and renovated Citrus Bowl. . . . Pollsters found that after they told respondents about the economic impact of the venues and the types of events they would host, support increased to 68 percent and opposition fell to 28 percent."
For the record, though, studies show that performing arts centers, not sports arenas, are the true and impressive economic drivers. Still, the results of the poll does speak volumes about the importance of making sure people have proper, full, and appropriate information when you're asking them to comment on public policy.

Bloomberg Announces Plan to Shore Up Arts in Schools
New York Times
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced yesterday that the city’s Department of Education will require all schools to maintain arts programs, and that principals will be rated in their annual reviews on how well they run those programs. The announcement came just months after the department infuriated arts groups by eliminating a multimillion-dollar program to finance arts education. Under a new set of city standards, the arts curriculums will be judged for comprehensiveness, and potential pay bonuses for principals could be affected."
Gosh, you know, it's as if Bloomberg is reading everybody's mind. Good for him. Now let's just make sure he enforces this, too.

Blanco OKs ‘Broadway South’ bill
The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), 7/20/2007
"Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed into law Thursday new tax credits for the proposed 'Broadway South' program. Senate Bill 218 by Sen. Ed Murray, D-New Orleans, creates tax credits to attract new musical and theater productions to the state similar to the existing film industry tax credit program. The new tax credits provide incentives on infrastructure construction and renovation, production costs, transportation, payroll taxes and training programs."
Excellent idea, and obviously designed to help New Orleans get along. I'm a little surprised the media isn't picking up on this, but perhaps it doesn't comport with the "no one is reporting on New Orleans" meme.

Calif. tax-credit plan still in limbo
Hollywood Reporter, 7/23/2007
"The state Senate on Wednesday will resume deliberations on a state budget that sets aside $75 million in film and TV production incentives -- with even that modest tax-credits provision causing sharp controversy. . . . [Governor] Schwarzenegger has said that he favors crafting appropriate film and TV production incentives for California to stem the tide of runaway productions lured from Hollywood by lucrative programs offered by states including New York, Louisiana, New Mexico and others."
A few years ago, who'd have thought that runaway production would be referring to production outside of California, as opposed to production in Canada? If Gov. Schwarzenegger doesn't sign the legislation, he's an idiot. It's so obvious.

Cultural leaders want property tax revenue set aside for the arts
Buffalo News (NY), 7/23/2007
In Erie County, NY, leaders of the cultural community are asking that "3 percent of annual property tax revenues be set aside for the arts. That projects to about $5.4 million, based on current sales tax receipts, or roughly the amount currently allocated to the arts. Cultural groups say the time is right for dedicated public funding because, as recent studies underscore, the arts are important to the local economy, and because their role as an engine of development is certain to grow as cultural tourism draws more and more visitors to the area. . . . Leaders will testify with backing from County Executive Joel A. Giambra, who in late May submitted a bill designed to permanently lock in a predictable level of county funding for years to come."
I predict that within five years, there won't be very much counties in the country at all that haven't had an effort toward arts funding or arts incentivization. This is terrific news, and it'll put all those anti-arts Republicans on the run, where they belong.

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