When he introduced his budget proposal for the next fiscal year, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer warned the Metro Council and the public that subsequent budgets would be much leaner. There’s a persistent $15 million gap in revenues, and Fischer says it will take fundamental changes to Metro Government to close that gap.
Among those possible changes is how the city supports the arts. Fischer told arts groups that receive city grants to put together a “Plan B” for that funding. Later, on a WFPL news special, Fischer restated his commitment to the arts, but said if given the choice between cutting public safety and cutting arts, he would chose the latter (though the funding for each doesn’t’ exactly compare).
NPR’s Elizabeth Blair recently reported on arts funding in Kansas, where a plan B has already been implemented after Governor Sam Brownback gutted the state’s arts commission.
Meanwhile, Brownback has named someone new to lead the efforts to raise funds from the private sector. In an interview, that new appointee said she doesn’t think it will be that hard … since the Kansas arts commission’s budget was so small to begin with.
When told about the situation in Kansas, Mayor’s spokesman Chris Poynter said it’s too early to say whether Fischer would consider a similar option, especially since the mayor hasn’t determined whether the $500,000 that goes to arts groups will have to be cut from the next budget. Poynter did say, however, that the Fund for the Arts already connects corporate donors to arts groups (despite complaints about that process, which may soon be changed). Further, Poynter said Director of Community Building Sadiqa Reynolds is the mayor’s ambassador to arts groups, but has not done any fundraising.