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Monday round-up: Arts funding fears and the worst building in the world


by Jerome Weeks 4 Feb 2008

Texas is notorious for its miserly funding of the arts (lower funding per capita than Guam  — that’s been the standard reference point/bitter joke for years). Surprisingly, California is worse, according to the LA Times: Backers said the bill would have secured $30 million or more each year for the California Arts Council, which has operated on […]

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  • Texas is notorious for its miserly funding of the arts (lower funding per capita than Guam  — that’s been the standard reference point/bitter joke for years). Surprisingly, California is worse, according to the LA Times:

    Backers said the bill would have secured $30 million or more each year for the California Arts Council, which has operated on $3 million to $5 million annual budgets since 2003 after peaking at $32 million in 2001.

    Just $1 million now comes from the state’s tax-fed general fund — the minimum required to qualify for federal matching funds. . . . Without increasing taxes, [the new funding bill] would have boosted California’s 14 cents per capita arts spending, now last in the nation, close to the average of $1.21, as calculated by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

  • Speaking of arts funding, perhaps pop (commercial) culture can help bankroll highbrow (nonprofit) culture — the stuff it feeds off of and competes against, using multi-billion-dollar delivery systems such as TV and the internet. In The Wall Street Journal, Terry Teachout looks at how the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra has built an outdoor amphitheatre for rock ‘n’ roll acts — the better to pay its own bills.
  • If we can review the presidential candidates’ use of graphics, then we can review them as dramatic actors.
  • Dallas typically doesn’t care about its smaller arts groups or artists? The city’s “churn” — its turnover of residents headed elsewhere for jobs — applies to artists as well?  OK, but let’s talk about a culture capitol like Boston. Same thing, unfortunately.
  • Looking forward fearfully toward a possible recession, some arts groups have asked their donors to write new checks now.
  • From Esquire: The Worst Building in the History of the World?
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