In a stunning admission, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday he was wrong in proposing “draconian” cuts to local arts projects in his 2012 budget.One sad:
“I often talk about the arts as it relates to recreation centers,” said Reed, who ran on a platform to open all of the city’s recreation centers and support local arts. “I want young people to have what I had. When I was growing up, I was greatly influenced and benefited from arts programs. But I lost sight of that.”
Reed was given a standing ovation, which was a far cry from the mood last week when the cuts were discussed during Atlanta City Council budget meetings.
In Atlanta, nearly 8 percent of all jobs are arts-related. That number is higher than comparable cities like Charlotte and Nashville, but those cities award $3 million and $1.8 million in grants annually.
London Councils had announced plans to cut £3 million financial support for the arts across the capital in December 2010, affecting companies including Theatre Royal Stratford East and Clean Break. In February, a High Court judge ordered that the decision process be rerun, quashing all of London Councils’ original funding cuts.As you can see, these decisions can be fluid. One mayor moved his stance towards the arts after hearing protests. Another set of councils moved away from the arts after being blocked by courts. Both are making clear statements about the value of culture in their cities.
However, the new decisions are worse for the arts than the initial ones made in December. Not one theatre company will have its funding reinstated and the two strategic bodies that were going to be funded - the Independent Theatre Council and Audiences London - have also lost their support.
However, regarding the wider picture of London Councils’ decision to cut financial support to all arts organisations, [ITC chief executive Charlotte Jones] added: “There is something about the real loss now of recognition of the importance of culture."