Ballard not starting with art

September 2, 2008
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For the first time in its 22 year history, the season-kickoff Start with Art luncheon (being held this Thursday) won't include a visit from the Indianapolis' mayor.

Greg Ballard, as has been reported elsewhere, will be at the Republican National Convention.

The timing is either fortunate or unfortunate, depending on your perspective. With budget cuts looming for arts, this annual rah-rah event--which attracts about 1200 people--might have been a good time for Ballard to make his position clear to a large room of business leaders.

On the other hand, given the proposed cuts, it might be wise for the Mayor to be anywhere but at that luncheon.

Either way, the program seems designed to appeal to those skeptical of the impact of the arts: The keynote speaker is Col. Dean Esserman, Rhode Island chief of police, whose message is that the arts play a key role in public safety.  

Your thoughts?
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  • It doesn't surprise me at all. Most of the major art events that this city provides are run and financed by individuals, and companies. The city has always had issues with supporting the arts. ORANJE one of the city's most eagerly awaited art events is completely managed by volunteers and the two organizers who finance the event. The only involvement the city has with most privately run events is the harassment that they provide by charging more for the permits. The city should try to help out some of these events and give back a little.
  • I think the arts is an excellent area for the private sector to step up and do what the city cannot. Of course there is private funding now, but there can be much more. And at a time when the city is facing desperate needs in the areas of public safety, education, roads, bridges, economic development, tax issues, parks, re-training workers, trash pickup and recycling... the list goes on. And while it is impractical for the private sector to help much in any of those areas, they can totally help with full funding of the arts. I am hopeful - and confident - that Indy's patrons of the arts will do what has to be done.
  • Has the RNC ever coincided with Start With Art before? I'd be interested to know. I would read Mayor Ballard's non-attendance as a big hint hint, though.

    Has anyone yet coined the term Bottom-Line Ballard? I'd say it fits.

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