Funding for LA Dept of Cultural Affairs at risk to go away in Motion 56.

Garcetti and a few of his pals on the LA City Council have put together a motion that will adversely affect the growth of the arts in LA by eliminating dedicated funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs. Specifically Motion 56 will divert the funds currently going to them from the hotel tax back to the general fund.  There is no provision in the motion to reinstate the funding at a later date.

What can you do to help prevent this from happening? Attend a Letter-Writing Party tonight hosted by the Angels Gate Cultural Center and the Grand Vision Foundation in San Pedro. Everything you will need from pre-drafted letters to pens for your signature will be provided. If you care to write your own custom letter, or can’t attend tonight’s letter writing party, visit Marshall Astor’s blog here.

The impact of this move is far reaching. It isn’t entirely about robbing one source to pay another. Should it pass staffing (IE more direct unemployment) will result as well as end grants that support local artists and arts organizations. Rippling out will be the loss of art for the community and jobs that are related to promotion and sale of art.

Time is of the essence as it is to be presented and up for vote on February 3.  If you can’t write, plan on attending and stating your position and with supporting arguments if possible.

Hat tip to Marshall Astor at the Angels Gate Cultural Center for alerting me to all of this.  I’m working with him for additional information on why this is such a bad idea and will post additional information when it is available.

Details: Feb 1, 5:30-8PM, the Grand Annex 434 W. 6th St.San Pedro 90731

UPDATE 6PM.  I asked Marshall Astor 5 questions to better understand why Measure 56 is important and how it will affect the city and him.  I got answers to that and more.  There may be one additional letter writing campaign tomorrow night.  To read the 5 questions you need to make the jump.

Update 2/2 Phone bank information and numbers to call added by Marshall Astor in the comments.  Don’t miss you chance to be heard.

5 Questions
1.Why should a non-artist care about the loss of funds for the Dept of  Cultural Affairs?

Everyone should care. The Department of Cultural Affairs programming and grants primarily support arts education throughout the City of Los Angeles. If you have children, they may already be receiving arts education that’s supported by the Department. The DCA has 18 art centers that provide regular cultural programming, including the Watts Towers. If you care and love the Watts Towers, this is important to you. If you’ve ever gone to see a film, music or theater production at the Warner Grand Theatre, this matters to you. If you are a small business, like a restaurant, that is adjacent to a DCA supported performing arts organization, you will see less customers as those organizations shut down or cancel programming.

The elimination of the grants program will have long reaching effects that no one understands and that certainly haven’t been studied by the people proposing these cuts. No one knows how many jobs outside the DCA will vanish because of this. It’s my opinion that the City Council and the Chief Administrative Officer are engaged in budget surgery in the dark here. They are trying to make decisions fast and recklessly that are best made in a considered manner.

2.What projects at Angel’s Gate will be affected by the loss of direct grants?
Angels Gate gets grants from the DCA to fund its gallery program. Should the next round of DCA grants be eliminated, I will be forced to cancel or cut back on the scope of upcoming exhibitions, beginning June 1, 2010. If the CEI program is canceled, we will have to seek alternative funding for our upcoming Korean residency project or cancel it entirely. I don’t know if it will affect staff salaries or positions at Angels Gate. That’s the immediate impact.

3.How will this affect the city of LA long term?
The City of Los Angeles is a global culture and art capital. Cities need a cultural life to survive. There’s a whole cultural economy going in LA, from the art show at your local coffee shop to the production of /Avatar/. There needs to be some City agency that participates in and supports that. The proposed cuts will decimate the hard work of individuals at scores of non-profits throughout the city, damaging programs that have been decades in the making. How many decades will it take for us just get back to where we are now? LA is in an arts renaissance right now and it’s not hard for me to imagine an exodus of the artists and arts professionals who have made that possible. It would lead to a contraction of the cultural life of the City. Under Olga Garay, the current Executive Director of the DCA, the Department has begun to engage in the kind of international programming that is necessary to make LA take its place on the world stage. If the Department’s budget is cut right now, I don’t know if we’re going to have that opportunity again for a long time.

4.This appears to be a rob peter to pay Paul situation, what argument is there to maintain the funding as opposed to being funneled back to the general fund to pay for say, police or fire staffing?
The LAPD budget approaches $1 billion a year, if I recall correctly. I’m not going to argue in favour of cutting police and fire instead of arts, but I’m certain that the City can find ways to add efficiency there, and I’d be willing to bet that you could fit the entire budget of the DCA inside of that efficiency. I don’t think they’re robbing the DCA to pay for police and fire, but given that every $1 invested in the arts brings $8 into the City, these cuts may cost more than they save in the long run, and that’s just on a budget level.

5.2D or 3D art, which is your favorite, why?
I’m going with 3D on this one. I love things that are tactile and crafted. I trained as a jeweler and have made a lot of sculpture and I just love things you want to run you hands over. I don’t like assemblage or “sloppy conceptualism” in sculpture, though. Nothing is worse than someone who goes to art school for six years and comes out patting themselves on the back because they learned to use glitter and hot glue.

7 Replies to “Funding for LA Dept of Cultural Affairs at risk to go away in Motion 56.”

  1. But OMG–Eric Garcetti rulez!!1! He has a blog! He couldn’t do anything bad. You must be mistaken, frazgo.

  2. Yeah, I know, just being snarky. Garcetti gets so much love from online when he takes a lot of stances that would get a different politician a lot more negative press than Garcetti gets.

    Disappointed, but not surprised, to see the arts treated as expendable.

  3. I presume that Eric’s signature is first because he is Council President. Everyone is shocked to see his signature on Motion #56.

    Those of us in San Pedro were particularly shocked to see Eric’s signature on Motion #56 because his father, Gil Garcetti currently has a solo show of photographs up at Gallery 478 in San Pedro.

    Gallery 478 recently was able to purchase a new exterior sign thanks to a City Redevlopment Agency grant as part of the San Pedro ACE District program.

  4. Update:

    We’re trying to encourage people to call their councilmembers between 2-4 pm TODAY:

    TWO MAIN TALKING POINTS:
    1) stand firm on-do not take the current contracts away
    2) do not sign the motion to take away the Transient Occupancy Tax ( TOT)

    If you’re not located in the City of LA, but want to support the DCA and its mission, call Council President Eric Garcetti and Budget & Finance Committe President Bernard Parks and let their staff know about your support. Scroll to the bottom of this email for a complete list of phone numbers for all 15 councilmembers.

    Arts for LA has an excellent talking points sheet that you can reference if you’re calling and here’s a short script that you can use that covers the most urgent issues:

    “I’m calling to express my support for the Department of Cultural Affairs and to ask councilmember [insert their name here] to vote against the motion to remove the Transient Occupancy Tax funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs. The proposed elimination of all DCA grant programs is also completely unacceptable. Hundreds of organizations depend on those funds to serve their communities and the elimination of DCA grants will have far reaching effects on the whole region.

    Under the current leadership of Olga Garay the Department is doing an amazing job at delivering essential arts services to the City. The Department has been on the receiving

    end of significant budget cuts in the past and cannot bear further cuts if it is intended to fulfill its mission.

    Please vote against the motion to eliminate the Transient Occupancy Tax and please support the Department’s grants program by keeping it in place and fully funded.

    Thank You”

    Here is a list of phone numbers for all 15 councilmembers and their offices:

    District 1 – Ed Reyes
    District Office: 213-485-0763
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7001

    District 2 – Paul Krekorian
    North Hollywood Office: 818-755-7676
    Sunland-Tujunga Office: 818-352-3287
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7002

    District 3 – Dennis P. Zine
    District Office: 818-756-8848
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7003

    District 4 – Tom LaBonge
    Hollywood Office: 323-957-6415
    Valley Field Office: 818-755-7630
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7004

    District 5 – Paul Koretz
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7005

    District 6 – Tony Cardenas
    Van Nuys Office: 818-778-4999
    Sun Valley Office: 818-771-0236
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7006

    District 7 – Richard Alarcon
    Pacoima Field Office: 818-756-9115
    Sylmar District Office: 818-756-8409
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7007

    District 8 – Bernard Parks
    Crenshaw District Office: 323-293-9467
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7008

    District 9 – Jan Perry
    9th District Neighborhood City Hall: 323-846-2651
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7009

    District 10 – Herb J. Wesson, Jr.
    Western District Office: 323-733-8233
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7010

    District 11 – Bill Rosendahl
    Westchester District Office: 310-568-8772
    West LA District Office: 310-575-8461
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7011

    District 12 – Greig Smith
    Chatsworth District Office: 818-701-5253
    Northridge District Office: 818-756-8501
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7012

    District 13 – Eric Garcetti
    Hollywood District Office: 323-957-4500
    Glassell Park Satellite Office: 323-478-9002
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7013

    District 14 – Jose Huizar
    Boyle Heights Field Office: 323-526-3059
    Northeast/Eagle Rock Field Office: 323-254-5295
    El Sereno Field Office: 323-226-1646
    City Hall Office:213-473-7014

    District 15 – Janice Hahn
    San Pedro Field Office: 310-732-4515
    Watts Field Office: 213-473-5128
    Wilmington Field Office: 310-233-7201
    City Hall Office: 213-473-7015

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