Cut to: The city's arts budget

August 5, 2008
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The buzz is growing around the arts community about anticipated budget cuts from the Ballard administration to be announced on Monday. See, for example, Justin Ohlemiller's commentary at the Hetrick Communications site here and Gracie Communications' Lisa Sirkin's "Save the Arts" page here.

Will these posts and their responses have any impact on the Ballard budget? And if the cuts go through, what will the impact be on Indianapolis?

In hindsight, was Mayor Peterson's "cultural tourism" push miscalculated? Would a greater emphasis on making Indy a better place for people who live here -- rather than marketing our goods to the outside world -- have put the arts community in a better bargaining position today? 

And, at the risk of asking too many questions, if funding is cut but the arts philanthropy world comes through with help, will that only prove the Mayor's case?

Your thoughts?
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  • It's a sad day for the fine city of Indianapolis. :(
  • Their is one question the people who question these cuts should ask. Do you want the arts to suffer or basic education and public safty; or taxes to raise even more? I will take better funded PUBLIC SCHOOLS over greenways and art instalations everyday of the week. If the arts want to survive it is up do the foundations to raise money privatly which will give the city a much more honest view of the importance of art to the people of the city.
  • If Ballard is as successful at cutting the Arts budget as he was with his war on potholes and crime, the Arts community has nothing to worry about.

    As for Cityside's comment...based on the number of misspellings and grammatical infractions in your post, I can understand why public education would be a concern of yours.
  • Newt Gingrich earned a sour reputation when he threatened cuts to PBS. I'm not a CPA, but I would like the chance to take a holistic look at what the city could cut as I'm sure funding for the arts is miniscule compared to other expenses.

    His threat to cut arts funding is a mere publicity play, just like Newt's threat to PBS back in the '90s. What saved PBS is what will save the Indy arts organizations - enough noise from constituants.

    I wish there was a city beat journalist in this town who would dissect the county budget to expose how tax dollars are spent.
  • Curt, whch of those wld u cut 1st? U got me good.
    I no Im a prduct of spell chk n txt:(
  • This city's already chosen to fund the Colts over arts, public safety, education, road maintenance, etc.
  • Every budget--personal, corporate, and governmental--is a statement of value. What does the city budget say about what our community and its leaders value? What does it say about Indianapolis values in general? What SHOULD it say about Indianapolis values? It can be a startling exercise to evaluate a budget with these questions in mind...and we need to do it...we need to do it TOGETHER with a sense of abundance and possibility.
  • I have read many of the responses to my statements regarding the need to cut funds to the arts community in the 2009 City of Indianapolis budget. It is sad that many commentators see the proposed cuts in arts funding as lacking recognition of the many contributions the arts make to the Indianapolis community. Those who are proposing cuts are not cultural Neanderthals, and do not wish the city to be void of an arts culture. We share an appreciation and an enthusiasm for the enrichment the arts offer our minds and spirits.

    It is difficult to understand that supporters of the arts funding by the city, seem willfully blind to the desperate financial crisis the city is in. Many of the arts organizations I have heard from, protesting city tax cuts to funding, are in much healthier financial shape than the city. Which major arts organization is in as poor a shape as the city is in right now? Certainly not the Indianapolis Museum of Art or the Children's Museum. Yet, they each received the highest amount of allocated city funds from the Arts Council of Indianapolis. Why didn't the big dollars go to more programs with more limited resources?

    I was not on the Council when the decision to fund the stadium was made. Mayor Ballard was not the mayor when the deal was made to give Mr. Irsay 50% of the revenue brought in from all non-NCAA convention events. The current city administration leaders had nothing to do with where we have been. We are taking responsibility for where the city is going. Understanding and cooperation from the arts community during these difficult times is sorely needed and would be much appreciated. Is there any way they could accept a moratorium on funding from the city until the city is on better financial footing? For a few years, can there be a hold on grand new additions to the Children's Museum and The Museum of Art? Can some of the duplicate programs reaching school children come together in a consolidation of services?

    My mailbox is filled daily with requests for help from constituents. They can't figure out their property tax bills-or pay them. Sewage flows in the White River on a regular basis. Homeowners battle the costs and aggravation of constant flooding of their homes, not because they chose to live in a flood plain, but due to antiquated stormwater drainage pipes. Commuters endure bone jarring travels along poorly maintained roads. Children are shot in their cars on their way home from church. You read the newspapers, you are fully aware of the challenges out there that need urgent financial fixes. This current administration is working hard to resolve problems that have been years in the making.

    There is discussion about what a small portion of the city budget is allocated to arts funding. It is said, Certainly the city can spare a measly 1.5 million(actually more, if you count the 1 million the Arts Council receives through the CIB)? Last night, I attended a budget preview session. Please trust me, every thousand, and certainly every million dollars in cost savings is being evaluated and searched for.

    My hope is that the disappointed arts supporters out there accept that a cut in funding is not to be taken as an insult or lack of esteem or appreciation of the arts community, but simply as a tough financial decision to be made.

    Sincerely,

    Christine Scales
    City County Councillor, District 4

    P.S- Mayor Ballard has not yet supported a total cut in funding to the arts.
  • With the huge increase in Marion County property taxes, public safety and education shouldn't have to suffer; nor should the arts. Cityside, I'm not saying you're wrong in your desire to support those things. But blaming your misspellings and poor grammar on spell check is like saying you can't figure out how to pay your bills due to the invention of the calculator.
  • If it makes you feel better, I advocate cutting every penny given to the Colts and that stadium too. Ir$ay gets rich, while citizens lose their homes.

    Sports, and any other special interests, should be self-funded.

    We don't get a ballet arena, there is no reason for there to be a football arena paid for with public money either.
  • Voter/taxpayers are going to get tired of a city run by police officers with no vision beyond crime fighting and helping themselves to pay increases, new cars, and expanded bureaucracy.

    Are billboards about snitching, rallies about stopping the violence, and processions of hearses by funeral directors going to boost economic development and promote the cities quality of life?

    Safety is an expectation, not a community slogan. If crime fighting is the only thing Indianapolis is good for, then everyone will just move to the suburbs or out of state

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  1. Those of you yelling to deport them all should at least understand that the law allows minors (if not from a bordering country) to argue for asylum. If you don't like the law, you can petition Congress to change it. But you can't blindly scream that they all need to be deported now, unless you want your government to just decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.

  2. 52,000 children in a country with a population of nearly 300 million is decimal dust or a nano-amount of people that can be easily absorbed. In addition, the flow of children from central American countries is decreasing. BL - the country can easily absorb these children while at the same time trying to discourage more children from coming. There is tension between economic concerns and the values of Judeo-Christian believers. But, I cannot see how the economic argument can stand up against the values of the believers, which most people in this country espouse (but perhaps don't practice). The Governor, who is an alleged religious man and a family man, seems to favor the economic argument; I do not see how his position is tenable under the circumstances. Yes, this is a complicated situation made worse by politics but....these are helpless children without parents and many want to simply "ship" them back to who knows where. Where are our Hoosier hearts? I thought the term Hoosier was synonymous with hospitable.

  3. Illegal aliens. Not undocumented workers (too young anyway). I note that this article never uses the word illegal and calls them immigrants. Being married to a naturalized citizen, these people are criminals and need to be deported as soon as humanly possible. The border needs to be closed NOW.

  4. Send them back NOW.

  5. deport now

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