Friday, July 25, 2008

Arts Advocacy Update LI

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv, email blast of July 23, 2008:

Movie and TV crews help Louisiana recover
USA Today, 7/16/2008
"A record number of major feature films and television pilots are being filmed in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, creating an economic boost to a region rebuilding from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina three years ago."
Jobs, jobs, jobs, baby. Very important story.

Arts Plan Could Cause Funding Gap, Study Says
Washington Post, 7/23/2008
"In the midst of a contentious and politically turbulent first year as D.C. schools chancellor, Michelle A. Rhee drew near-universal acclaim with one goal: to place music, art and physical education instructors in all public schools. But a study by a coalition of public education advocates says that the rigid financial formula Rhee imposed to fulfill that promise would trigger unintended consequences -- including teacher shortages, large class sizes and per-pupil funding gaps between some schools in low- and high-income areas of the city."
Oh, so nix the arts?

A Portrait of Art As a Tax Deduction
Wall Street Journal, 7/22/2008
Since Congress capped deductions donors can take for so-called fractional gifts of art almost two years ago, museums have seen an enormous reduction in new fractional gifts. "Now lawmakers, under pressure from museums, are mulling easing some of the restrictions." Mike Spector explains the tax benefits of fractional gifts, the current restrictions, and how Congress might change the law. "The Schumer-Grassley plan would ease some . . . restrictions, but would add others, according to the people briefed on the negotiations. Collectors would once again be allowed to take bigger deductions over time as their art appreciated. But higher art values, for tax purposes, would be restrained by any deductions taken previously, under one option being discussed."
Not sure I understand what a fractional gift is. Article is interesting but doesn't really help that much in that regard. The article says:

Here's how it worked: The donor would take a deduction based on the first contributed stake -- say, $4,000 for donating a third of a $12,000 painting. If the collector donated another one-third stake later, and the $12,000 painting had appreciated to $30,000, the next deduction would be $10,000. The donor could continue to take advantage of this until he gave away the entire interest in the artwork, and he could take as many years as he wished to do so.
But what I don't understand is who decides that the painting has appreciated to $30,000 -- do you have to submit multiple appraisements, for example? How is fraud avoided in such a situation -- after all, you could, if the numbers were big enough, get all kinds of people to appraise all kinds of artwork for all kinds of prices. How would anyone know what's authentic?

City's arts office reopen for biz
Philadelphia Daily News, 7/19/2008
"Declaring the arts a key part of a thriving city, Mayor Nutter yesterday reopened the city's arts office and appointed a New Yorker as chief cultural officer. More than 200 supporters cheered as Nutter signed an executive order creating the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. A similar office was closed in 2004 by then-Mayor Street."
I guess that's what you call Nutter butter.

Economic woes force 12 percent cut in N.J. arts funding
Cherry Hill Courier Post (NJ), 7/23/2008
"Against a backdrop of cutbacks, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts reduced by 12.6 percent its funding for arts organizations, programs and projects on Tuesday. The council awarded $18.8 million in grants for fiscal year 2009, some $2.7 million less than the $21.5 million handed out for the last fiscal year. . . . It could have been worse, said council chairwoman Carol Herbert. Through a statewide lobbying campaign, arts leaders joined with educators and businessmen to convince legislators to restore more than half of the 27 percent funding cut in the budget that Gov. Jon S. Corzine submitted earlier this year."

Caught in a Money Trap
On the Commons, 7/10/2008
"Once more, when times are bad and the potential pot of contributed dollars shrinks, the arts are dying on the vine. However, it is not the economy that needs fixing—but the arts system that is dependent upon and trapped in a tenuous relationship with it," says an essay by Kathleen Maloney.
I'd be curious to know what Mike Daisey thinks of this article. Frankly, it strikes me as missing some key points. Mike?

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