Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Future of the DCA

As sickening as it sounds. I saw this one coming... Right when I found out that my photography teacher was looking for an art gallery to support her work, since her funding was being cut...

If giving thousands of dollars to “rescue” huge corporations wasn’t enough from our government… Our local government is looking into slashing the Department of Cultural Affairs staff in preposterous numbers. And while they‘re at the point, a motion has already been put into effect to cut the TOT tax which is the organizations vital source of revenue. This means that not only will after school arts programming, and neighborhood arts centers deteriorate faster than they all ready are, but the young minds of Los Angeles communities will have to strive harder, for a better grasp at cultural diversity.

Budget cuts won’t stop there, and I’m afraid of an endless wave of insolvency in the upcoming months. President Obama has proposed to eliminate a 3.7% of The National Endowment for the Arts funding. This means that out of the current $ 167.5 million, in 2011 it will only receive $ 161.3 million. Numbers that slip from the tip of our tongues may not have an impact, rather sadly, capital is needed for such great endeavors.

It’s important to remember that all sectors of commerce will be affected. After all Los Angeles is one of the leading arts cities, as much as it’s reigning diversity. Unfortunately, our local government does not understand the importance of culture. Yes, our tourism will decline, perhaps not at staggering figures, but most notably, many students that enjoy arts programming in their local communities will be highly affected; The Watts Towers is one of the leading grounds and we’re all keeping our eyes open. As well as other organizations from Highland Park to West L.A. I highly encourage all of us to take a closer look, support local organizations, and most significantly participate, let your voice be heard on local affairs.

The Arty Army made it’s way early morning to defend the arts in Los Angeles.

At only past 8:30 am the aisle that connects to the council chamber was already packed with art students, organization representatives, artists, and the likes. The crowd was only expected to get bigger… Most folk dressed in red with stickers that read “ART FUELS LA”. Given out by Arts For LA, a non profit organization. While others, ceaselessly exchanged texts with friends, or updated their Facebook accounts; We all waited patiently.

The bodies were an apparent voicing of the city, as I stood in front of a REDCAT representative, and overheard others discussing year plans, that now hung on the brick of the city council. Pass 9:45 am, the chambers doors finally opened, while a flow of speaker cards were being passed around to be signed. Organizations such as Inner City Arts, Outpost Contemporary, and others made their voices be heard in the crowd of supporters. Many of us did not have a chance to speak due to the sea of speaker cards that were turned in. Nonetheless, our cause was apparent, saving the DCa for the time being. However, our state is in turmoil. Our deficit now seems outrageous to many Angelinos, but the city’s statistics show that in 2013 our deficit will grow to a staggering $1 billion, that’s double of our deficit in 2011. On the contrary it’s an interesting time for the arts. It seems like the mainstream core is driven by kitschy Damien Hirst ( I strive to understand Hirst's work, one day!), and the Post- Pop Art of Jeff Koons (I'am a fan of most of his pop driven sculptures, but his paintings are something else)… An interesting time for the Rauschenberg in us; Work with what you have. In times like these good films, good art is scarce, due to the lack of propaganda that’s needed, not to mention the money of course. However, yes, that’s the interesting part. More collectives will bloom in these times, the floodgates will never close, and it will be the scavengers hunt for the art we all deserve.

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