So the city council and the mayor totally revised how money is allocated from the city's cultural budget -- this is huge. HUGE.
It also makes me feel like I owe Bloomberg a bit of an apology since I tend to rag on the fact that his private funding tends to go to high/established art and not to ... well, me. Haha. Alas, his business skills are incredible and yes, I recognize that the Times is slanted journalism, and I'm sure there are other problems on the rise ... but this is incredible news, I think I'm going to print and frame this:
New Formula Means More Money for Arts Groups in New York
... Starting in the 2009 fiscal year, which begins in July 2008, the 34 arts groups will be guaranteed 90 percent of their funds. The rest will be conditioned on their performance through a new evaluation and accountability process called CultureStat. City-owned arts groups will be reviewed in areas including board governance and financial management and may receive a portion of the 10 percent balance even if they do not qualify for the whole amount.
Because of the push and pull between the mayor and the council that was normal in the past, arts groups often did not learn how much they were getting until February. In the future, Ms. Levin said, 75 percent of organizations will receive word by July and will get payments by August. Elizabeth Egbert, the president and chief executive of the Staten Island Museum, said that this was a significant step. “This year, for the first time, we received word of the final budget number in time to include an accurate number in our own budget, which helped tremendously in planning,” she said. “Since our board votes on the museum budget in June each year, knowing the city allocation in advance, rather than in January, six months into the fiscal year, is obviously a better situation.”
In addition, groups with budgets of $250,000 or more will eventually be accorded three-year figures, so they can count on a certain level of funding. Organizations with smaller budgets will continue to receive annual appropriations.
Some 170 groups also used to get a fixed amount of money every year as “line items” that were written into the budget and have been frozen since 1989. Those have been eliminated.
Instead arts groups have to make a case for themselves based on the work that they do and the public service they provide ...
I'm really really interested to see what this means, what the next year will bring from these organizations. A merit-based system seems like a good answer, I am especially pleased that board goverance goes into this factoring. Of course, there is always that issue of good artists-bad business, but I think this will help the brains-and-beauty combos, as well as the wonderful budding pure arts administrators, get and keep jobs. Finally, a producer, an artistic manager from the beginning and through the process must be honest and artistic -- this could really improve the relationships between admin and creators ...
Every time I'm close to leaving this city, it does something like up its arts funding and I think, well, now I have to stay ....