Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ballard and the Arts

THIS JUST IN - The two biggest issues plaguing our fine city - the off the chart murder rate and sky-high property taxes - have just been solved. How you ask? The mayor intends to phase out the entire $1.5 million in funding it provides for cultural education and outreach. IUPUI political science professor Brian Vargus had the most entertaining line in this IBJ article: “Oliver Wendell Holmes said taxes are the price we pay for civilization. Ballard’s [idea of] civilization is some kind of Marine Corps." The following was also taken from the IBJ:

The Arts Council of Indianapolis, which has studied the impact of not-forprofit cultural organizations, puts their annual contribution to the Indianapolis economy at $468 million and 15,088 jobs.

Cultural leaders consider the $1.5 million Indianapolis spends to pay for arts outreach and education a pittance—but a highly symbolic one.

I couldn't agree more. The outrage shouldn't be that the Mayor wants to cut $1.5 million, we should be outraged that it was ever that low in the first place.

Yet we should be proud that we have done so much with so little. The first of it's kind anywhere Cultural Trail, our public art exhibitions and so much more would not be possible without the support of the many wonderful foundations and corporate partnerships found throughout Indy. And did anyone else attend the free Shakespeare production at White River State Park this weekend? There were so many people they were spilling over the edges. This city wants their arts Mayor Ballard! The least you could do is throw us a bone!

For a more level-headed perspective, make sure to check out the always graceful Urbanophile. And expect much more on this topic here on OtC in the future. Just wanted to get the ball rolling...

5 Responses to “Ballard and the Arts”

Anonymous said...
August 3, 2008 at 9:27 PM

Indianapolis, Indiana
Shoot, shoot, more taxes on property
Phase out the funding for the arts
Go team go
More tax money for sports
We no need culture
Can you give me a loan I need tickets?
If you’re creative go to the end of the line
We have no money for the arts
The way it’s going, the front of the line for the Arts
Is so far far away.

Just venting

Anonymous said...
August 4, 2008 at 10:23 AM

It's completely understandable that the city needs as much money as possible to fight its crime problem. Where all of this breaks down is when the city subsidizes sports teams and events time and time again.

Any well researched study will show how most NFL franchises are a big drag on city budgets and are a net loser. Indianapolis gives away all of the income from the new football stadium and yet pays all of its expenses. Did winning the Superbowl bring any new business to the city? Probably not. But the city leaders believed that if we lost the Colts, Indianapolis' reputation as a major city would be forever damaged. Well, any major city also has a vibrant, active arts community. But this has been lost on the status seeking civic leaders of the last twenty or more years.

From what I've read, the arts community never did reach out to Mayor Ballard after the election. Rather, all I read was how terrible his election would be for the arts. Well, thanks to the application of a stereotypical template, that view is now very possibly a self-fulfilling prophecy. From what I've seen and read, Mayor Ballard seems to listen to people.

Rather than demonize Ballard for this pending decision, it would be great to see the arts leadership make a good faith effort to meet with the Mayor and see what possibilities exist and to plead their case.

If the leadership pleads their case directly to him and are summarily rejected, then the arts community has a case. Until then, being outraged and complaining about all of this accomplishes nothing. Maybe Mayor Ballard and his wife need to be personally invited to Penrod, The Symphony, a First Friday, etc... If they had a first hand experience witnessing the wonderful Indianapolis' arts community and their events, maybe he would realize how much the arts enrich the quality of life of a community.

Anonymous said...
August 4, 2008 at 11:18 AM

I know for a fact that nearly every member of the arts community, especially officials from the Arts Council and IMA, have met with the mayor (or staff members).

We're pessimistic, not unrealistic.

Anonymous said...
August 4, 2008 at 11:24 AM

Thanks for the info and that is great to hear. Therefore, the pessimism is completely understood.

Christopher said...
August 4, 2008 at 12:06 PM

I should add after some time to sleep on this that obviously something needs to be done about the crime/murder rate in the city. More police is a necessary short term band aid, but continued investment in education and the arts seem to me to be two no-brainers to help curtail any long-term trends.

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