"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"

"The Official Portrait of Miss InDiana"
aka "Miss Victory"

Monday, August 4, 2008

Taxpayers and city councilor call for cuts in arts funding

Christine Scales, who we endorsed for city council, sent the letter below to the Mayor's office in regard to cuts in arts funding. Her letter is appreciated.

Christine Scales will be on Abdul's show tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 7:10 am just before the Mayor goes on the air at 8am. Tune into Abdul at AM1430.

And while Christine is more moderate, our position is that ALL arts funding should be cut at the knees immediately. These are tough times for Indy's residents. Citizens are shackled with sky high gasoline prices, higher property tax payments, a 65% county income tax increase, and inflation hitting our grocery bills.

Why, in the midst of all this financial hardship, should the taxpayer be forced pay for an arts council that does little more than function as the decider of who is in the arts inner circle and who is not?

Cultural arts in Indy has nothing to do with Peterson's Arts Council and everything to do with the hardworking local artists in this city who built the arts scene here. They are not the individuals who receive funding from the arts council. I write this from the perspective of a woman that has bought local art for 20 years. My home is stuffed with it. And I can atest first hand that these artists are not the ones getting funding. They aren't getting it because they aren't in the clique.


The big dollar commissions are mostly doled out to out-of-state artists because the arts council of Indianapolis does not believe our local arts measure up. That's a lie. Our local arts DO measure up to the rest of the world. And our local arts culture was created by artists who historically get little to nothing from the city for their dedication.

As you will see from Christine's letter below much of our city's arts funding goes to organizations who have millions in the bank. Which begs us to ask why our Arts Council has done so little to control this wreckless misuse of our money?

By all means support the arts, but do it in your own way. Buy local art and make an artist's day! Go listen to live local music, tip the band, and buy their CD. Buy an art museum or zoo membership. Just don't expect Indy's citizens to accept forced taxation to an Arts Council that functions as little more than a clique who controls which arts and artists are favored and which are not in favor.


You should decide how your arts dollars are spent and not a council who spends your money on out-of-state art and artists, while it ignores the struggling local artists who created the culture we have here in the first place.

Mayor Ballard should keep only those city arts employees who generate funding (from ticket sales, sponsorships, or artist entry fees) for the projects sponsored by the city. Otherwise, if the employees cannot raise money through the arts they promote, they should be terminated. It's not rocket science to do this.

If you want to get in on the arts discussion, be sure to tune in to WXNT AM1430 tomorrow morning at 8am. Abdul will talk with Mayor Greg Ballard about the arts cuts. The mayor needs to know the citizens want the arts budget cut.

--Melyssa for HFFT


ARTS FUNDING
Letter to Mayor Ballard
from Christine Scales, City Councilor

Our city is in severe financial crisis. Each administrative budgeting entity within city government(excepting public safety) was asked to cut its already lean budget by 5%. Even so, rising costs and lower revenue expectations may find the city facing annual deficits beyond $70 million in the next four years. It is at difficult times such as these, that difficult decisions must be made. I believe all of us Republicans newly elected to office this past November, came in, knowing that our city’s administration would have to re-think and realign what its role is, and thus, what services it is primarily responsible for. The city budget must reflect the city’s priorities. We can and must keep our financial house in order. At such a time as this, it is not appropriate or wise, to cast a vote allocating our limited tax dollars to any budget items not deemed essential city services.

The Arts Council of Indianapolis, the organization through which city funds for the arts are funneled, should be sympathetic to the city’s plight. Working with scarce financial resources, they too, must examine which arts groups are worthy of receiving an allocation of funds. The board of the Arts Council must review each individual artist’s offerings or organizational program and ultimately deny some requests for monies. It is then incumbent upon those left empty handed, to seek other funding sources.

It is difficult to imagine that should the City County Council strike funding for the local arts community in the 2009 city budget, that the many truly wonderful arts oriented entities in this community will need to face the decision to close up shop. Our community is richly blessed with private individual and corporate benefactors who have demonstrated their willingness to generously support their favorite arts organizations. How else could the Indianapolis Museum of Art have successfully completed a 200 million dollar plus capital campaign in 2004? The Indianapolis Business Journal recently reported that the 2006 Children’s Museum income of over $48 million, exceeded their expenses by approximately 18 million dollars. Each of these organizations seem to be on much better financial footing than the city is, yet they were each recipients of $85,000 of taxpayer largess.

The current city administration has discussed a multi year “phase-out”of arts funding, so as not to cut the Indianapolis Arts Council off at the knees. In this, there is apparently the belief that a phase out of financial support might appease the arts community and offer a politically acceptable compromise. It is doubtful that such an offer will ease the hurt feelings of the arts community. Courage is needed and the political statement which needs to be made is how serious we are about budget cuts. Just how strong is our political resolve?

Arts organizations have become adept at marketing an appeal to politicians because of pairing art with achieving social good. “Art is an educational tool, inner city children receive an introduction to culture, a heavily influenced after school arts program will help keep children from turning into juvenile delinquents”. All this may be true. Churches have been offering recreational after school programs, tutoring sessions, and yes, art and music enrichment programs to neighborhood children with the same end goal in mind. These are all noble offerings needing support and encouragement to continue. The difference is, a church is not allowed to receive tax monies.

There are many secondary issues and questions which could be raised. For example, does government art funding selectively enhance some artist’s work to the exclusion of others? Does an artist or program head need to ingratiate themselves to an art clique, which is beholding to a group of politicians, to have any hope of receiving funds? Would this be considered a form of censorship? What happens when the message of an artist becomes unacceptable to the public? Would a possible cut-off of government funds be tolerated?

The question isn’t whether the arts culturally enrich our community. The question is, should the arts community be called upon to make the same cuts and sacrifices the city has to? This year, the answer is, yes.

Christine Scales
City County Councillor, District 4

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bring it Christine! This funding should have been cut a long time ago!

Annoyed said...

I highly suggest that people complete their research before making erroneous statements about what the Arts Council does. Just goes to show how ignorant people in Indianapolis truly are when they say CUT IT ALL, without all the facts! Go do your research and come back with a solid argument!

Melyssa said...

annoyed...your anonymous comments carry no weight. You say there is more to the story, but failed to offer the facts you say the taxpayers do not know. Then you failed to sign your name to your opinion. Are you ashamed of what you think?

You offered nothing of value...not a fact, name, or date.

I gave warning that there will be crying and whining unlike we've never heard as those sucking at the taxpayer tit get pulled from it.

Tell us "annoyed", how much of our hard earned money are YOU personally looking at losing when the budget is cut? Could it be your cushy taxpayer funded job?

As for me...as of 2007, I'm coughing up an extra $300 a month for my property tax bill, an extra 17% sales tax (one penny), and an extra 65% county income tax is being taken from my wages in the private sector.

Take your whining somewhere else. There's plenty of private money for the arts.

Signed Melyssa

p.s. notice how I included facts, dates, and my name with my argument?

Jim said...

The arts attract 7 million visits (in audiences, some of which are repeat, that is, they go to several events, many of which are not) to performances, exhibitions, etc. This is more than the combined attendance of all professional sports attendance in Indy.

The arts generate $52 million in tax revenue (state/local) annually, and are responsible for 15,000 jobs (were they a single employer, the arts would be the largest employer in the city). The arts also contribute nearly $500 million annually to the local economy.

Comparatively speaking, the Indianapolis Colts generate about $5 million in tax revenue (state/local), account for roughly 800 jobs (not counting the team) and generate (even with the new stadium) approximately $190 million to the local economy each year.

Lucas Oil Stadium will cost taxpayers appx. $715 million (not including annual maintenance fees). Strictly from a return-on-investment perspective, which use of taxpayer funds makes more sense?

Another way to look at this is, the cost of Lucas Oil Stadium would fund the city's arts grants for nearly the next five centuries, and earn the city more than twice the amount of money each year. If this were your money (and it is), which investment would yield the best return?

Without a doubt, Indianapolis finds itself in a world of financial hurt, and cuts must take place. The question is where we're cutting, why, and then, for the money we are spending, is that the best use of it?

The arts play other roles too, serving as a year-round attraction to nearly 22 million visitors who come to Indianapolis each year. The Colts, 500, etc., of course also attract lots of visitors, but one way of looking at that is how often during the year do they serve as attractants (in other words, the Colts play for roughly five months annually and the races are two to three week affairs)?

Given all that, it seems there's a compelling argument that the city funding (less than 1 percent of the budget) has a pretty healthy R.O.I., especially when compared to other uses of taxpayer funds.

There are educational benefits associated with the arts (there are significant studies from think-tanks including Rand, Urban Institute, etc), too, but let's just stick with the money.

To find out more about the Colts impact, go here:www.ipic.org/ipic/downloadFile.do?id=51

For more information about the arts/economic impact, etc., go here:
http://www.americansforthearts.org/

Thanks,
Jim

Melyssa said...

Jim,
Betcha didn't know that in 2004 I produced a national juried art event. It was promoted worldwide and received quite a bit of press. About 1000 people attended.

I also applied for a cultural tourism grant through the arts council. I spent 55 hours writing the proposal.

My proposal was ignored. In fact I had to call Jenny Guimont many times after the timeline I was to hear an answer.

Finally several weeks past their deadline for an answer I got a letter that said only that the event did not meet their criteria...when indeed it did.

I wasn't in the Jenny Guimont clique. And it seemed apparent to me then (and now) that Jenny Guimont forgot she is an employee of the taxpayers.

Bottom line. I worked harder on the project because I had no financial room to coast. In other words I had to hustle to cover the expenses of the event which exceeded $12,000.

I had to figure out how to sell advance tickets, get sponsorships, get things donated that I needed, organize 100 volunteers, etc.

The event happened without taxpayer funding. It received great press in both NUVO and INTAKE. It also was reviewed through some international arts websites.

Guests came specifically to Indianapolis from as far as NYC and Seattle just to attend this art show.

And as it turned out I was able to pay many of the key people involved more than I contracted to pay them because they gave me such great help and the event revenues (because of my hard work) afforded it.

So you see, the arts WILL and DOES go on without taxpayer dollars, if there is the will of the people (or person) for it to happen.

That's when I learned upclose and personal that the arts council is little more than a clique. I'm not alone in that knowledge.

I'm grateful, however, that I learned the lesson in such a personal way and was literally forced to work so hard for the art event I wanted to happen for my city became reality.

Financially strapped taxpayers should never be forced to pay for someone else's idea of arts or sports or any other special interest.

Those wanting the project to become reality, need to WORK to make it happen without taxpayer funding.

jim said...

Hi Melyssa,
I didn't know all the information you just provided, but thanks, and it's always disheartening when a taxpayer-funded organization doesn't perform to one's expectations.

My sense is that all of us could point out any number of situations (license bureaus, property assessors, courts, city/state/federal officials...the list is pretty long) in which the organization slights (for good reasons or bad) us as *individuals*.

The question I posed in my prior post was solely, is this the best use of taxpayer funds for the community in general, or as a whole, not individuals (compared to other uses, using the Colts as a comparison)?

If the community as a whole chooses to cut funding, so be it. I'm afraid only that the community will make a decision that ends up being based on misinformation or lack of same, or on an individual basis that overlooks the common good. Because if we're really trying to evaluate our investments and expenditures using a return cost-analysis, it's a pretty easy decision, assuming we're going to pony up the $10 million in annual expense to fund Lucas Oil's maintenance, etc.

Jim

melyssa said...

Jim,
I'm all for making it easy for artists to do their thing. Given a choice between funding sports and funding arts...I'd vote for the arts.

However, I really don't think our money should be used for anything other than bare necessities at this point. We simply cannot afford it when crime is out of control, we have by some estimates 15,000 abandoned houses, and our taxpayers are taxed to the breaking point...a breaking point that is endangering the very homes of some.

Jim said...

Hi again. I appreciate your point and would offer another perspective to consider.

The amount of current arts funding ($1.5 million) equals less than $2 per person (using a 2003 estimate of 760,000 people in the city).

Certainly the impoverished you're rightfully concerned about are going to attend very few performances and exhibitions because they can't afford the price of admission (along with all sorts of other reasons, including lack of transportation, child care, etc.).

City funding helps arts organizations perform/hold low and no-cost events, exhibitions, performances and community outreach programs designed to make the lives of those very impoverished people just a little bit better.

What's likely to happen when the arts funding is eliminated isn't that the arts organizations will go out of business...instead they'll have to focus on getting more paying customers (as you aptly pointed out with your own event) and making that revenue go further, which will eliminate the outreach programs and more affordable programming (and once again, the impoverished among us lose).

Again, if the community (and its elected representatives) choose to eliminate the funding, that's okay, it's a democracy, and that's what it's all about. On the other hand, there is a cost associated with eliminating that funding, and as long as we're comfortable with that, it's all good. But how much of a better life is that $2 going to buy? Again, it's all about the choices, and what's really the best for the community...

Best,
Jim

HOOSIERS FOR FAIR TAX said...

Jim,
You make a lot of sense. It's just that all those $2's per person budget entries add up. 50 of them equal $100 per person.

Government should not be deciding what is art, what art is worthy, and what art is not worthy. That's up to the people.

Private foundations will take care of the arts. We vote for the arts with our feet.

If the amount we are asked to pay is so little, yet so important, why not organize a PRIVATE arts council and work your tails off for funding?

That way the Mindy Taylor Ross' and Jenny Guimonts of the arts funding world can keep their tidy clique, but rely on PRIVATE (not public) funding instead.

Afterall, like you said yourself...it's not that much money.

And I have no doubt that they are bright and talented enough to figure out how to fund so little privately without forcing me and other taxpayers to participate against our will in their clique.

steve said...

I think that there is a big misunderstanding on the role of arts in our city, and a general under appreciation. When you look at what city organizations like the Arts Council are trying to do, it is invaluable. Now to compare that to the Lucas Oil stadium, is unfair. Why you say, well, how many peopel will really benefit from the taxation from Lucas Oil, oh besides the owners, out of state workers who built it, and corporations rich enough to benefit. The normal everyday person shelling out money through they taxes can barely afford a TICKET. Yet, we are not boycotting the UNFAIR taxation of the stadium. We are however calling an attempt to bring CULTURE and UNDERSTANDING to our city UNFAIR. Aside from the monetary value of the Arts vs Lucas Oil, which SHOULD be enough to a rational thinking person. Lets look at the other benefits, where will Lucas Oil comes into your communities and help your children to be better people? The arts that we support are infused into the city through various programs, the ISO, Penrod, Braod Ripple Arts Fair, Jazzfest, Childrems Museum, IMA, Indianapolis Zoo, Mass Ave, Art vs. Art, Oranje...the list continues. A quick google search returned this site, which contains more information http://www.artscouncilofindianapolis.org/ but I'd think we'd be wrong to cut the Arts Council or our city culture at its knees.

Jim said...

Hi Hoosiers for Fair Tax,
I'm not quite sure what point you're making with "50 of them add up to $100" other than being frugal is good, and I'm not arguing against that.

I'm not arguing for a private or publicly funded arts council, either, nor am I asking that you be "forced" to fund art (or anything for that matter, though we're all ultimately "forced" to fund education, transportation, sewage, government, etc in order to make this a livable city).

The community should decide what it deems to be the best use of its money and in an ideal world, would take into account what the return on its investment really is. If you can turn that $2 into greater value, that's cool, by all means, cut the funding and everyone should find a way to use that $2 to his or her benefit. My point is that given the return that's already in place, and that these funds are tantamount to low- and no-cost performances and outreach programs, it's a pretty smart investment that will be difficult to beat.

Put another way, I don't have children within the city's educational system (don't have kids period), but I'm game for doing whatever it takes to help make kids smarter and have a chance for happier lives, even if it means paying higher taxes. Smarter kids are less likely to be involved in crime, have better careers, earn more, create more businesses that employ others, contribute more to the tax base, etc.

It's simply a different philosophy about community development, not necessarily right or wrong. All I'm asking is that folks look at it for what it really is...an investment we're about to switch from one thing to another (and let's be honest: anyone who's ever worked within a governmental agency knows that "admin" will suck up that $1.5 million faster than Kool Aid into a paper towel).

Jim

Melyssa said...

Steve and Jim, All those wonderful arts you mentioned are going to live on without city budget funding. Trust me on this.

I've produced an event like the guys that put on Oranje and Art vs. Art. I also know they get a $5,000 grant to help do it.

I did a similar project (attendance 1000) without city funding. I just put my saleslady hat on and went out into the PRIVATE business world and helped business owners see why it made sense for them to advertise in my program and sponsor the event.

And guess what? Joe Everhart, the realtor...well he didn't know me from Adam and ponied up $100 to be in the event program. Several other local businesses did the same

Turns out Everhart ended up getting a multi-million dollar real estate deal from the networking in the arts circles that I helped facilitate for him. He did the Fletcher Pointe condo deal with the owner of Fletcher Pointe. I think some of those condos are selling for a million plus.

Now, if I got a grant I would have been lazy. I would not have gone out into the community to get sponsors because I would be riding easy on my handout. And worse, Joe would likely have never gotten that deal.

See what can happen when folks are forced by the marketplace to work hard?

My point is that all of these great events will still happen. They'll just get done a different way...through private VOLUNTARY funding, ticket sales, artist entry fees, and sponsorships.

We don't need city administrative middle people to dictate who gets the money and who doesn't. It's not fair to all those hard working folks (like me and most of the artists in this town) who aren't in their clique.

In fact, in retrospect, I was better served for not getting city money...for it FORCED me to work hard to make the vision I wanted for the arts world to come into reality that year.

Penrod, the theaters, and other great organizations and events are not going to go away. I promise.

These worthwhile projects will just get done a different way...privately, as they should be.

Hoosiers For Fair Taxation said...

Hi guys! We could use your help in beating up on the CIB a little bit in regard with where the money from scrapping the RCA dome is going to go. We don't like sports subsidies either. Let private funding do it!

Anonymous said...

If the city really wants to save some money cut out any money that it spends on any sporting event. Where is Mayor Ballard going to come up with the $10 million per year to maintain Lucas Oil Stadium, the stadium that Jimmy Irsay is going to make big bucks off of every event in the new stadium.

Cutting the city's funding of the arts is cowardly. Cutting the city's funding of anything related to sports would be brave.

Mayor Ballard is setting himself up to be a one termer if he's not carful.

Sheila said...

Anonymous 5:06 I could not agree more. I remember that Mayor Ballard said many times during his campaign that he did not expect to be re-elected if he didn't keep his promise to make city government open, accessible, accountable, get crime and our city's budget under control.

Looks like he is doing what the electorate voted him into office to do for us.

I would also like to see sports subsidies cut at the knees, as they say.

Pete Boggs said...

CUT THE CRAP.

Stealing lunch money from one person to feed another is STEALING, no rationalization changes that fact.

Public funding for the arts is a scam where bureaucrats pretend with other people's money, as they wine & dine imported talent (generally speaking, high profiled, outa town artists, some I know personally and who see the scam for what it is) with whom they can rub elbows to make themselves feel important and tell you there doing something worthwhile on "your behalf." I've seen it, again and again and again...

The US & Indiana Constitutions don't waste ink pretending the government has a role in telling us what "art" is. Let's instead require government to meet its legitimate, first charge, to protect the people (public safety) and make the streets safe for citizens and commerce.

It's called the FREE MARKET, go to your grotesquely and illegally funded Central Library and "read more about it." That big guv-mint thang is the FEE market, or the art of FAILURE.

Art exists because there are artists, people who are COMPELLED to produce it. NEA "art" tends to look like what it is; stuff that no one can justify purchasing or wants to buy- other than that, it's great.

Anonymous said...

melyssa,

Again, its lack of attention to detail and facts that has me annoyed. You're refering to a grant from another organization, NOT the Arts Council of Indianapolis. And it probably took her some time to get back with you since Jenny is the ONLY person running that program.

I do not have a job dependent on public funds, I have no investment in the arts other than my love of great art.

Thanks Jim for numbers and facts, it really helped put it all in perspective.

- john billington

Anonymous said...

I'm not the best at math, but if we're $26 mil short and we cut the arts budget, would not that make us only $24.5 mil short?

How much interest do the bond banks charge on borrowing $1.5 million to pay for arts funding? How long will it take the taxpayers to pay it back?

It would seem that more than $1.5 million of taxpayers' labor is at stake here.

Melyssa said...

John Billington,
I don't recall the exact time frame that they gave for a reply because it happened four years ago. However, I can tell you that she did not come even close to meeting the deadline and I had to nag them to get an answer.

Worse, it was leaked to me before I sent the proposal, and obviously before it was read, that I would not receive funding.

Would have been nice after investing 55 hours of my life writing the proposal to know why I was turned down and to get their answer within the time frame set forth by their published guideline.

Oh well. It was a good lesson in what wonderful projects can be produced that put money directly into the pockets of local artists WITHOUT public funding.

Did I mention that I gave $1000 away in art prizes that night too?

I raised that $1000 in cash to give away WITHOUT public funding. The catch was that I had to back up every promise I made to produce that project with my own funds.

Go figure.

P.s. I am happy to teach anyone who wants to "save the arts" how to produce art projects without city funding that support and promote our local arts and arts culture without using a penny of taxpayer monies.

Jim said...

Hi Melyssa,
I'm sorry, I'm apparently not making myself clear here.

My point isn't to "save the arts" (nor the artists). I don't believe arts organizations are immediately endangered by the potential cuts we're discussing, nor individual artists, either.

What I am concerned over are the likely outcomes. Just as you've demonstrated via your personal example, the arts organizations will continue to work hard in order to exist, and will do the things necessary to raise money to help offset losses in revenues.

However, as many of us do in our personal cost-cutting, it will be the "extras" that get cut out. And as I pointed out in an earlier post, in the case of the arts organizations, those extras will likely be the programs that benefit those among us who have the least, i.e., the impoverished.

As someone said earlier here, the mayor promised to make cuts, and that's true, he did. Now that he's about to realize those promises, it's important to judiciously weigh which cuts make sense, and why compared to which don't.

If folks have all the information and facts, they can make an informed decision and then choose to cut, adjust or leave this budget or that one alone.

So my point, solely, is that the less than $2 per person is an incredibly sound and smart investment (especially compared to others we've made) that pays off each year, and will likely yield community development benefits for many years to come.

Perhaps the mayor and city council might demonstrate or explain how that $1.5 million savings would benefit the community other than simply cutting or balancing the budget? Or, to quote someone else, what are the community-wide benefits of a city budget that's $24.5 million in the red versus $26 million? Does that benefit outweigh those that will be lost by cutting that funding?

It might also be interesting to see if there is any other city budget item with a similar rate of return that's also being completely zeroed out. My guess is there isn't, and if not, shouldn't we know why?

Thanks...

Jim

J H-H said...

Gee! I'm an artist who is too busy doing my work, to take my tin cup and go begging. I heve never taken "government" money for anything, other than a commissioned piece.

If your work can't stand on its own merit, then why should I be forced to pay for it?

From what I have seen, most of the Indianapolis "Art/Artist's" groups, are little more than mutual admiration societies for those of limited talent...Who like to make themselves feel better, by assulting others.

If you have talent, it should be rewarded. (Mine fed and raised a family) If you don't have talent, accept it and move on--DON'T PICK MY POCKETS! I work too hard for my money.

steve said...

melyssa,

sounds like you're doing a great job, so let me get this right, all artists need to be able to go out and generate their own events, funds, and create art...okay, i'll be sure to pass that message on and see how well it is received.

Jenny Guimont said...

Melyssa,

I feel that it is important to step in at this point and provide the facts about your accusations of me and the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission (ICDC).

The grant for which you applied was a 2004 Fast Track grant for the “Erotic Arts Ball 2004” through the ICDC – not the Arts Council as you previously stated.

The application was dated July 28, 2004, adjudication took place on August 20, 2004 and the notification letter was sent on September 2, 2004. The 2004 application stated, “Notification of award recommendation will generally occur within 4 weeks of date of application”. Other timing details were clearly articulated in the application guidelines. There was no delay in communicating the denial to you.

The funding request of $5,000 was denied based on the determination that the project was not the best or most appropriate use of the ICDC’s funds.

In 2004 the ICDC was an equal public/private partnership between the CIB and Lilly Endowment. The Fast Track program has always been funded by the private side of that partnership. No public funding is used for this program.

Your proposal was not “ignored” as you said in your post. Each and every application submitted through the Fast Track program is handled in the same way and given the same level of attention. The applications are reviewed by committee and ratified by the entire ICDC. Your indication that this was decision made by a “clique” is unfortunate. That simply has never been the case.

Throughout the history of the Fast Track program, I have made myself available to applicants both before submission of an application and after notifications have been made. I would have appreciated the opportunity to talk with you about your application at that time. It is understandably much harder to do so four years after the application was submitted and through a public blog.

For the record, to date the Fast Track program has dispersed over $850,000 to over 140 organizations and individuals. Since the beginning this program has been highly competitive, and only the strongest projects that align best to the Commission’s goals receive funding.

For more information about the ICDC and our programs, please visit us at www.culturalindy.org. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this information.

Jenny Guimont

Indy local artist said...

Melyssa's posts (especially the one on August 5, 2008 10:22 AM) reveal the most common motivation that may lie behind her mission against Arts funding...SOUR GRAPES.

Melyssa "gave warning that there will be crying and whining...."

Well here it is.... from Melyssa herself:
"I also applied for a cultural tourism grant through the arts council..... I spent 55 hours writing the proposal..... My proposal was ignored.....I had to call Jenny Guimont many times after the timeline I was to hear an answer......Finally several weeks past their deadline for an answer I got a letter that said only that the event did not meet their criteria...when indeed it did."

Whah, whah, whah.......the arts council didn't give Melyssa her grant, now Melyssa wants revenge, and all local artists must pay.

What a joke.

Signed,
A local artist who is NOT a member of a clique, does NOT schmooze with ANYBODY, yet has been assisted by the Arts Council and is grateful for it.

Melyssa said...

I wrote:
"Oh well. It was a good lesson in what wonderful projects can be produced that put money directly into the pockets of local artists WITHOUT public funding."

No sour grapes from me. I'm happy I didn't get the handout because I worked so much harder. And hard work is good for a person.

And thanks to Jenny Guimont. I got more attention from you today on this blog than I did from the arts council back in 2004 when I submitted that grant proposal.

No sour grapes here. Just doing my part as a taxpayer to look out for the city's financial health and will keep on supporting our local culture and arts like always.

Stay tuned for more whining, taxpayers!

Christopher said...

Every time I think I'm becoming more conservative someone like Melyssa comes around and reminds me why I left the Republican Party in the first place. Thank you Jenny Guimont for responding with the facts and exposing these sour grapes for what they are.

melyssa said...

Hi Christopher,
We have something in common! I left the republican party too!

Anonymous said...

To some sour grapes, to others a fine aged wine.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 4:11 pm
"To some sour grapes, to others a fine aged wine."

I think that last phrase should have been "to others a fine aged whine." I agree with others that melyssa seems to be so vocal because she did not receive funding.

After reading Jenny Guimont's response, melyssa continues to attack the arts council when she was refused a grant from the ICDC and that the money was refused from private funds rather than public funds. If all that Ms. Guimont says is correct, melyssa is still not paying attention to details, and maybe that had something to do with not receiving the funding.

And where is Pete's outrage at even more money taken from us and more to be taken in the future to fund Lucas Oil Stadium while offering a lower return on investment than what the arts offer? And where is his complaint that the city is funding "outa town" athletes? I also know artists who were out of town at one point and after being "brought in," have since chosen Indianapolis as home.

I find it amusing how many people seem to be up in arms about arts funding when it is such a small part of the budget and yet are not bothered at all by a much larger percentage taken for something that yields such a lower ROI. If the arguement is that the budget is only for public safety, education etc. then that arguement should be true for ALL funding that does not fit that criteria.

That said, all of the arts offer many educational benefits - for instance: teaching how to think rather than just to regurgitate information for a test.

Finally, thank you Jim for remaining calm throughout your posts and for providing clear responses backed up with facts and figures.

Dan

Pete Boggs said...

For the record, Slick-us Oil Stadium or other imported "talent" in the form of athletes, etc., etc. (for those who require excessive enumeration in addition to unconstitutional remuneration), likewise does not justify STEALING , nor does "feeling" your way into someone else's pocket. Grow up, with your own money vs. forced patronage.

Forget light rail, these art thieves (whether by committee or?) need a heavy-duty logic train.

Indy taxpayer said...

Melyssa wrote: "Stay tuned for more whining, taxpayers!"

I say, Enough already, Melyssa!
No more whining...Please.

I thank the others who enlightened me with facts and clear thinking on this arts funding topic.
It gets me thinking in new directions about how my taxes are best spent. The ROI is clearly on the side of the Arts in this case. No rocket science there.

melyssa said...

I don't see a clear case for an ROI, as you say. I sell advertising, so ROI is something I work with everyday.

Let's talk facts concerning the ROI you claim exists.

Have you checked in on the kids getting government education in Indy lately? How is that arts funding working out for them?

Time to quit pretending the emperor is wearing clothes . There's nothing behind the curtain.

I'm not going away on this issue. Our taxpayers will not take on more debt so arts muckety-mucks can eat in top tier restaurants with other elites on our dime!

Bart underestimated me last year. Ask how that worked out for him last November.

And those of you who want to 'save' this charade (your taxpayer funded feed trough), have not even begun to hate me yet.

jim said...

Hey Melyssa,

I'm sorry, but I don't quite follow your point, and don't quite see what the facts are in it.

I think (and certainly don't want to put words in your mouth) that what you appear to be saying is publicly funded education in Indianapolis has problems and doesn't work as well as it should. That's a point many of us could agree upon. Our high school graduation rates are atrocious, and that's a problem that will haunt us for a long time.

I think it would be unreasonable though to suggest that the arts funding that is used for educational outreach programs is the reason that our public schools don't work as well as they should and that our kids aren't as smart as they could be (if that's in fact your point). My guess is the education the arts outreach programs is meant to provide is supposed to supplement the education kids receive from school, not replace it.

The ROI on the $2 Marion county residents spend in taxes each year for city funding for the arts comes from the economic impact it stimulates ($468 million annually), the jobs it helps support (15,000), and the additional tax revenue it helps generate ($52 million state/local).

I don't have the facts on this, but it might be interesting to know what kinds of grades kids at arts magnets earn compared to their peers at other schools (not claiming that arts funding plays any role in that, only that arts education leads to higher cumulative scores in other subjects and stuff). Again, there are plenty of studies out there stating kids who learn music perform better in math, etc.

As I've said earlier, I think this issue really boils down to how we choose to develop our community, how we choose to invest and spend taxpayer money and what the consequences of those choices really are.

So here's some questions for perhaps you or Ms. Scales:
Will the city be that much better if its deficit is $24.5 million instead of $26 million?

How so?

And what line items are going to be spared and why?

Finally, how do they impact the lives of thousands of people, cost just $2 per person per year and stimulate millions in city tax revenue (I'm no accountant but I'm guessing the tax revenue the city receives from arts related spending is far more than what it's investing in the arts...and so how is what's being spared generating tax revenue like the arts do?)

Jim

carla said...

"The ROI on the $2 Marion county residents spend in taxes each year for city funding for the arts comes from the economic impact it stimulates ($468 million annually), the jobs it helps support (15,000), and the additional tax revenue it helps generate ($52 million state/local)."

Where can I find a breakdown of exactly where this 1.5 mil/$2 per person goes?

If this 15,000 is based on tax filings, I am one of em, not for the art I make though, but rather I am designated "artist" because I paint bunnies in kids' rooms. that's how I count as an artist on paper.

I'll agree the $1.5 mil grants the city a huge bang for the buck, especially compared to other expenditures. But for the sake of accuracy, one cannot count these 15,000 jobs, and the economic stimulus generated, as a concrete result of the funding.

Some portion of the figures are directly the result, and some portion are indirectly benefited by the funding.But some of it is entirely unrelated.

Indy taxpayer said...

Nothing original here on this issue of cutting public funding for the Arts! The talking points have been dispersed.

Watch this clip from C-SPAN.
It is Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO) speaking in Congress on cutting public funding for the arts (NEA). Listen to his words: the very words used by those in favor of cutting our local arts funding.

Lamborn is a rep. from Colorado Springs, one of the most conservative, military-saturated, right-wing, diversity-intolerant districts in the nation.
I know this from personal experience.

Do the people of Indy want to follow this lead?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnAK4rjK2Xg&feature=related