Thursday, February 12, 2009

Arts Advocacy Update LXXVI

The content below is from Americans for the Arts' Cultural Policy Listserv, email blast of February 11, 2009:

Mixed reactions to ACE’s £2.5m ticket giveaway
The Stage (UK), 2/10/2009
"Arts Council England’s £2.5 million scheme to give away more than half a million tickets to under 26-year-olds across the country has been welcomed by some of the UK’s leading performers, but greeted with scepticism in other parts of the industry.... More than 200 venues, ranging from the National Theatre to a consortium of village halls in Cornwall, will take part over a two- year period and it is hoped that around 618,000 free tickets will be claimed by youngsters.... However, leading industry figures have questioned whether the scheme is the best way to attract new audiences to the theatre long-term and whether the giveaway will encourage youngsters to return as paying customers."
Imagine the U.S. government being anywhere near 618,000 tickets. Oh, to be in England!

186,000 Colorado Jobs in Creative Economy: New Study Defines 5th Largest Cluster of Colorado's Economy
PR, 2/6/2009
"The Colorado Council on the Arts released 'Colorado: State-of-the-Art, Key Findings from The State of Colorado's Creative Economy', which shows that 186,251 jobs in the state are associated with creative enterprises and creative occupations. . . . Colorado's creative enterprises alone employed over 122,000 individuals in about 8,000 establishments. This accounts for 3.9% of the state's estimated 3.2 million jobs, making it Colorado's 5th largest employment sector, almost as large as biotechnology/biomedical and IT & telecommunications, and larger than defense, security and agribusiness, food processing & technology.... 'This research clearly demonstrates that the creative sector is a large and important sector of Colorado's economy,' said Colorado Lt. Governor, Barbara O'Brien. 'Our next step is to more fully understand the challenges in each industry sub-group and identify areas of opportunity.'"
This is what I'm talking about: focus on jobs and fiscal-impact.

Dade Cultural Task Force could be created to assess future of the arts
Miami Today (FL), 2/5/2009
"As Miami's imperiled cultural community continues to struggle in the grip of an economic recession, Miami-Dade County may establish a group to assess how the arts could survive and grow during challenging times. 'We are working on a resolution to create a kind of task force on the arts to be able to evaluate the current status and anticipate development opportunities of the performing and visual arts in Miami-Dade County,' County Commissioner Rebecca Sosa said. 'The main objective will be to give us options and to recommend a plan of action to maximize effective use of available resources in order to best support the cultural life for the [county].'"
Great to hear. They have to do this down there -- they have to start developing other industries besides real estate.

New Boise program gives temporary homes to artistic process
Idaho Statesman, 2/5/2009
In Boise, ID, a new artist in residence program "transforms retail spaces into studios, galleries and rehearsal halls for area artists. The residency will last for three months, then another group of artists will take possession for three months, and so on."
I have to do it: "And that ain't small potatoes!"

Stage theaters breathe life into neighborhoods
Washington Business Journal, 2/6/2009
"Research shows that the District [of Columbia]’s thriving theater scene is helping to boost business in surrounding communities."
This sentence in the story is absolutely key: "A 2007 study by Americans For the Arts found that Washington-area residents who attend an arts performance contribute $22.91 to the economy beyond the ticket price. For nonresidents, the number soars to $82.08." What's the number for New York City?

Arts community say funding cuts would hurt economic development
Rapid City Journal (SD), 2/4/2009
"Advocates for the arts in South Dakota say Gov. Mike Rounds' proposal to eliminate state funding for the South Dakota Arts Council is an economic development mistake.... If the Legislature approves the cuts, it will make South Dakota the only state in the nation without an arts council and the only one without a federally-approved entity for accepting NEA funds, Brennan said. NEA monies for artist-in-residence school grants are sometimes the only arts curriculum offered in small rural schools. Colorado and Montana tried eliminating their state-funded arts councils, but both states eventually reversed that decision because of unforeseen consequences, Anderson said."
Maybe if they tie together arts funding with preventing abortions...

Big acts can be arts' ticket to surviving budget cuts
Detroit Free Press (MI), 2/8/2009
Anticipating that the arts will again be on the chopping block as Michigan officials craft a state budget, Ron Dzwonkowski promotes an idea of state Sen. Tom George, R-Kalamazoo: "[T]ake the state income taxes paid by visiting performers and dedicate it to the Council for the Arts to maintain its grants."
This is fascinating. Here are three graphs from the story that help to elaborate upon this idea:

So, for instance, if Britney Spears is paid $50,000 for a show at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the $2,175 she is supposed to pay the State of Michigan on that income (4.35%) would be set aside for the arts grants. The law would also apply to professional athletes (who are really entertainers and sometimes artists) when they play in the state.

Exceptions would apply in cases where Michigan has reciprocal agreements with other states not to charge taxes on athletes who play here in return for the same treatment when pro teams from Michigan play in those states. Michigan has such deals with Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin -- meaning we don't collect a dime from the Bears, Vikings or Packers when they come to Detroit to beat the Lions.

It's not clear how much money this dedicated tax would capture, but George figures it would not be more than the $7.9 million in grants made last year. The tricky part may be collecting it. According to a legislative analysis, the most recent state audit, done for the 2001-02 budget year, found that almost half the time, out-of-state entertainers and athletes left Michigan without paying any of the state income tax they owed.

Bill will end art funding
The Olympian (Olympia, WA), 2/10/2009
"A bill that would temporarily end the state's half-percent for art in construction projects is getting a mixed response at the Legislature. Critics say it will kill jobs. But freshman state Rep. Mike Hope,. R-Lake Stevens, says his proposal could save $5 million for other purposes, including a Boys & Girls Club in his home county. And he questions spending money 'to make something look pretty.'"
Thank you for your ignorance Rep. Hope! Let us know when you think women deserve the vote, too.

Change Proposed in State Arts and Culture Administration
Hartford Courant, 2/5/2009
In Connecticut, "[c]ulture and tourism generate about $9 billion annually for the state's economy, supporting about 110,000 jobs, benefits that Gov. M. Jodi Rell doesn't want to lose now that times are tough. But without reducing grants to major state tourism offices and arts organizations, has proposed a significant change for the arts. She would like to eliminate the state's main arts organization, The Commission on Culture and Tourism, and transfer its film, art, tourism and historical functions to the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Rell's budget estimates that this would save the state $930,000 a year."
This is an interesting idea -- how will it affect things administratively?

Lawmakers share arts fears
Reno Gazette Journal (NV), 2/6/2009
In Nevada, "[a]rts and culture advocates packed a legislative hearing Thursday to dispute Gov. Jim Gibbons' proposed budget cuts to the state's Department of Cultural Affairs and found legislators mostly agreeing with their concerns."
Vegas, baby, yeah!

Penny wise but pound foolish?
Delmarva Now (Salisbury, MD), 2/9/2009
"Maryland is on the brink of slashing a budget item that in 2007 was responsible for 15,184 jobs in the state, engaged 14 million residents in event attendance, generated $556 million in direct spending and had a total economic impact of $1.2 billion. It returned $2.13 in economic activity for every $1 invested by the state -- and generated $43 million in state and local taxes that year. Jobs, economic activity, consumer spending and tax revenue are exactly what we need, but Maryland's governor is proposing to cut more than a third of the state spending on this gem. However, this announcement is unlikely to generate public outcry because it is not usually taken seriously. This budget item is the Maryland State Arts Council. Gov. Martin O'Malley has proposed to cut $6 million of the MSAC's $16.5 million budget in 2010."
It really is an old sad song, over and over again.

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