I believe I may have mentioned Mayor Chinatownz recent decision to cut public arts funding 100% over the next 3 years. The city is, unfortunately, running a massive deficit – primarily because Our Man Bitch shifted the burden of many state taxes to local governments to balance the state’s budget (see: Robbing Peter to Pay Paul). Chinatownz ran on a platform of “cutting $70 million in fluff out of the city budget” AND he also unwisely ran as the “law and order candidate” at the same time. Given the recent spike in citizens murdering one another, Chinatownz now has to deliver on his impossible promise if he wants to keep his job. So out come the scissors to snip, snip — and you know what’s going first. Anything that will make our town look like one o’ dem ‘elitist snobs’. The arts budget is a tiny drop in the city budget bucket, but out it has to go, lest it look like we’re one of those limp-wristed, soft on crime cities, or something.
According to the IBJ and other sources, Indianapolis’ arts funding is in for a great big hit – down to zero in the next three years. For a world-class city such as Indianapolis, I find this unacceptable.
City funding for the arts is largely symbolic; $1.5 million out of a $1.2 BILLION-dollar budget in 2008 (yep, that equals 1% for the arts). But it still is an important symbol of all that is important, or should be, to Indianapolis. The arts represent diversity. Education. Thoughfulness. Creativity. Enrichment. Dialogue and debate. The arts make us think. The arts make us laugh, cry and shout out in protest. Some, like the Arts Council of Indianapolis, can point to studies that link the arts with increased graduation rates and decreased crime.