Be True To Your Arts Council*

Yesterday was the deadline for grant proposals for to our state arts and culture foundation for the next biennium. Due to budget cuts by the current governor, we don’t know if we will be getting any money from the foundation this year which possibility makes applying for funding in the next two years an time consuming exercise in futility.

On the other hand, today is election day so we will have a new governor very soon. I wondered if that had any bearing on the grant deadline being the before the election. Actually, it occurs to me that it did in a way. The grant deadline is usually on a Friday but with budget cuts, the foundation staff is furloughed on many Fridays. The staff probably felt it was better to move the deadline to Monday rather than deprive applicants of a day to prepare by making it Thursday.

There wasn’t much talk by either of the candidates about restoration of arts funding that I read or heard about this campaign season. I know at least one of the candidates is an avid arts attendee because I have seen him in my venues as well as others around town. I am hoping he wins, but we shall see.

Despite not knowing if we will get any funding this year, we are crediting the foundation for funding both in our print and web materials and thanking them from the stage in the curtain speech. They have provided support for us in the past and it doesn’t take much effort on our part to tell people that they are benefiting from the funding when they attend our performances. Besides, if we do get funding at some point this year, the foundation requires the credit so it is better to have it from the start.

And as I said, politicians attend performances so it is useful to have them sit in a crowded theatre and be reminded that funding the arts does a lot of good for their constituencies. In turn, they can tell the public that they work to provide those sort of experiences.

*Apologies to the Beach Boys

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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