Arts Advocacy Update XXXVII

Artist Paul Davis's posters for the Public Theater and Shakespeare in the Park.

The content below is from Americans for the Arts’ Cultural Policy Listserv, email blast of April 9, 2008:

Local group to launch Arts Census
Ypsilanti Courier (MI), 3/20/2008
In Michigan, “[t]he Washtenaw County Arts Alliance will launch an Artists’ Census April 1 through May 17 to help determine how many artists live and work in Washtenaw County. . . . The findings of the census, which is part of the Washtenaw County Community Cultural Assessment, will be included in the Arts Alliance’s cultural plan for the county. According to Mart√ån-Barcelona, the goal is to repeat the census every 3-5 years to report the health of the arts community.”
The more I think about this, the more I think it would make a great national project. State by state or at least city by city, the totals — depending on how one would define “arts” — might astound people. It could be as powerful a statistics as the economic impact of the arts.

Story continues below.




Granholm signs bills aimed at boosting Michigan’s movie business
MLive.com (MI) – AP, 4/7/2008
“Gov. Jennifer Granholm says Michigan’s struggling economy could get a quick boost from legislation she signed Monday aimed at giving Michigan a bigger role in the film industry. . . . State film officers say they’ve received more than 80 scripts for potential projects in anticipation of the new law, up from the typical half-dozen received in a typical year. . . . But it won’t come cheap. The key bill in the package gives film studios a refundable credit of up to 42 percent on production expenses in the state.”
But didn’t they do economic impact numbers before proposing the bill?

In troubled times, arts funding teeters
St. Petersburg Times (FL), 4/3/2008
“These are desperate times in Tallahassee. The Legislature has to deal with a shortfall of as much as $3-billion in tax revenue for the next fiscal year. Naturally the state’s arts programs were among the first items on the chopping block. House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Republican from Miami-Dade County, declared that whole departments might have to be eliminated. One of the candidates for the ax was the Division of Cultural Affairs, which administers arts funding. This marked a new extreme. Not even in the uncertain economic conditions after 9/11 did anyone suggest doing away with arts funding entirely.”
Leave it to an ignorant dumb-ass, send-men-and-women-to-their-deaths-in-a-war-sold-to-the-public-on-the-basis-of-a-lie Republican to suggest this. Go back to your cave, Rubio.

Poison pill
Times Daily (Florence, AL), 4/5/2008
“The Alabama Education Association is trying to attach a pornography tax to a film incentive bill that could derail the economic development package. . . . The Alabama Education Association, which opposes new incentives that don’t replace revenue lost in tax breaks, has attached a bill that would add a 30 percent tax to most forms of ‘pornography’ sold in Alabama. As one legislator said, ‘that’s a sure death.’”
What the fuck is this about? Oh, right.

Thumbs down for live theater tax break
The Advocate (Stamford, CT), 4/3/2008
“For [Connecticut] state lawmakers trying to bolster funding for Stamford Center for the Arts, yesterday was not a good day. The Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee passed a bill extending the state’s film tax credit program to the music industry. But it did not offer the credits to live theater performances. Another bill passed by the panel would give municipalities a portion of the sales tax revenue from hotels. The Stamford delegation sponsored an earlier version that required the money be used by municipalities to fund arts organizations. But yesterday’s bill did not specify how the sales tax would be used. It also would levy a 6 percent tax on delivery services to help the state make up for the lost revenue. The move, opposed by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, likely will kill the bill.”
Does anyone know what’s going on with the White Barn? Sounds like this was partially motivated by the need to save that structure.

Business-like arts a failure, says entrepreneur
Sydney Morning Herald, 4/3/2008
“Filling the boards of arts companies with business appointees has been a dismal failure that has stifled creativity. That is the view of the international arts entrepreneur Justin Macdonnell, who wants a radical rethink of the way arts companies are run. . . . This move had restricted the ability of arts boards to make informed judgments. Ironically, the funding agencies that had pushed their clients in that direction were now questioning whether the boards had the capacity to choose good artistic leadership.”
Sounds like a rant for…Mike Daisey!


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