Indianapolis Museum of Art’s unnecessary budget cut backs

There’s a lot to unpack in this article on the IMA’s recent decision to cut it’s budget under director Charles Venable – [The sad, unnecessary situations at MOCA, Indy | Tyler Green: Modern Art Notes |]

But it’s well worth reading the whole article to tease out the details, especially if you are a member of IMA or if you care about where the arts are headed in Indianapolis. In really simple terms, the IMA director Venable decided to cut the budget to keep their draw from endowment under 5%, which will result in laying off staff. But their endowment is quite high and could easily retain that staff given the current state of the economy. And the board is supporting that decision, even though it will result in a reduced quality of services and cultural impact for Indianapolis.

Especially disturbing are the suggestions that there was a whisper campaign that past directors of the IMA were profligate about spending – there’s no real evidence of irresponsibility, and IMA stands as an example of a very well-run and quite popular institution given it’s size and the size of the metropolitan Indianapolis community.

I urge you to pop over and read the whole article, it’s worth your time.

IMA 100 Acres

IMA’s 100 Acres

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Save Public Funding for the Arts

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.

There is a local arts blog asking for signatures to save Indianapolis’ arts budget. Go sign here to add your name. More info from their site:

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.

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