The Arts Need Money, Part 6,757

Categories: Arts, City Hall

When the budget ax falls at City Hall, the Office of Cultural Affairs is an easy target, because no matter how much economic impact the arts claim to generate, trimming grants to niche cultural groups is a lot easier than firing police and firefighters.

The department is designed to cope with this by leveraging private dollars to extend the impact of its official budget, which is around $20 million. But OCA's advisory arm, the Cultural Affairs Commission, is looking to further buffer itself from the city's budgetary whims.

On Wednesday, the commission will have the first meeting of its Sustainability Task Force, sustainability in this instance being a term-of-art among nonprofits referring to an organization's ability to survive.

OCA director Maria Munoz-Blanco said the task force was formed by the CAC's current chair (and former executive director of the Texas Commission on the Arts). I left him a voicemail, but the agenda for Wednesday's meeting hints at the direction he's looking. At the top of the list is a proposal to work with the Dallas Conventions and Visitors Bureau to better market the city's cultural offerings, with a focus on increasing visibility in local hotels.

Also up for discussion are voluntary fees (Texas State of the Arts specialty license plates are given an example), agreements with local foundations to fund the long-term upkeep of public art, and amendments to the city's cultural policy. The overriding goal, though, is to increase the OCA's budget and be able to provide larger grants to local organizations. The task force will issue formal recommendations after six months.

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The problem is that the funds for the arts, as well as any other non-profit funding get comingled and the nonprofit funds never actually reach the organizations. The grant money goes into the public-private partnership funds, in which most of the money is laundered for fraudulent activities. Sad but true.


If the arts need money, artists ought to go out and earn it.  


$20 million would fund more more policemen & firemen, who provide legitimate services to the citizenry.


 @roo_ster Same with libraries, right?  If librarians need more money, they should sell books or something.  

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