Third Day of Giftmas: Arts Money
I am adopting British conventions for some grammar in this post. So sue me. Hey, it's about Australia and the U.K.!
Here is an article on last week's surprise announcement in Australia. The lead is:
AUSTRALIA'S richest indigenous art prize will be part of a bumper Christmas present for Western Australia's cultural sector - a sudden $70 million arts announcement to be unveiled today by Premier Alan Carpenter.
Wow! $70 million extra, all of the sudden. I think I'd like to be a writer/artist /theater person in Western Australia right now.
But not in a small U.K. town: This week, The Guardian reports (headline), "England's arts face bloodiest cull in half a century as funds are cut for 200 groups" â€” holy mother of ... what. The. Fuck!
Lyn Gardner said a few days ago that "It all feels a bit cack-handed." That's because the Arts Council of England won't release the list of programs they've cut until after a funding appeal in January, and it's also because a bunch of organizations are getting unexpected increases. Seems that, POSSIBLY, without all of the info, British arts groups are drawing these conclusions:
â€¢ Funding is going urban instead of rural.
â€¢ Big places that stand to earn a lot of money are getting a lot more investment.
â€¢ And no one really knows WTF is going on because the Arts Council aren't talking about it and aren't at all transparent.
Today's post from Lyn Gardner is way harder on the Arts Council because they have really, really screwed up. My favourite line is: "The Arts Council seems to have scored an own goal in its failure to communicate both its decisions and the criteria by which they have been arrived."
I love the term own goal.
But anyway, point is? I want arts money for small organizations, for rural organizations that are trying to bring theater and music and viz arts to small towns, for new organizations trying to do new things ... and I do not want governments to think of arts organizations as businesses. Arts organizations need governmental support, and I don't see anything wrong with that. I mean, if the government can freaking pay for billions of dollars a month for war, why the hell can't the government pay a few million dollars/pounds/etc. a year for the arts?
(And let me acknowledge that I myself benefitted this year from governmental support for the arts.)
Here's an end-of-the-year tax-write-off thingie you can do to support the arts in Oregon: Donate, for a tax credit, to the Oregon Cultural Trust. If you're curious, here's the list of Eugene's eligible nonprofits. There's a lot of 'em, and some of 'em are among the best organizations in town (I won't say which ones though).
Give arts money for Giftmas! You'll feel good and get a tax credit as well. What could be better? (Well, if someone kicked the ARSE of the Arts Council of England, I guess!)