The Arts Win!

With the adoption of the FY10 budget just moments ago, Portland City Council approved a $4,325,300 allocation to the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). That's actually an increase over FY09 (explained in a moment), which is an incredible accomplishment amidst a recession like this, made possible by a Mayor who has made the arts a priority, a City Council who thoroughly supported virtually every aspect of his proposed budget, and hundreds of artists and arts advocates whipped up by the Creative Advocacy Network to pack Council Chambers and participate in community budget forums, making a strong case for arts funding all the while. If you were part of that effort, then I personally applaud you.

The new funding, combined with the continued growth of Work for Art, will result in small increases in RACC grants to artists and arts organizations in FY10 -- a year when most city bureaus will be taking a 5% cut. The majority of the increase, however, is dedicated to expanding The Right Brain Initiative, advancing the regional "Act for Art" plan, and investing in the Creative Advocacy Network to deliver a regional, sustainable dedicated funding solution for arts and culture. One-time funding resources available to the City, which probably won't be available again next year, made it possible for them to invest in these opportunities.

We're batting 2 for 2 so far. Federal government: check. City government: check. State and county governments: stay tuned. Granted, we lost the Cultural Trust battle, and I'm not sure whether the war is over. We can anticipate a great big cut for the state arts commission in FY10, but let's see what the Governor and legislature does with arts funding for the next biennium before we call it for sure. The three counties in the region will be announcing their final budgets soon, and those may very well bring more GOOD news for the arts. Cross your fingers with me, won't you?


cynseattle said...

What fantastic news! Another reason to be proud of this city and its residents.

MightyToyCannon said...

Thanks for the report and the good news. As for arts commission, doesn't much of its grant money get channeled from the NEA -- i.e., OAC regrants funds from the feds. With NEA funding in relatively good shape, I'm hoping that the state's budget crisis doesn't hack too deeply into grants made to Oregon arts organizations. Perhaps I'm being too optimistic.