Posts Tagged ‘arts policy’

Drama at La Scala

December 14, 2010

Drama at La Scala

Daniel Barenboim got an ovation even before he conducted Wagner’s Die Walküre at Milan’s La Scala last Tuesday. It was after he addressed Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, who was in the royal box:

“In the names of the colleagues who play, sing, dance and work, not only here but in all theatres, I am here to tell you we are deeply worried for the future of culture in the country and in Europe.”

Mr. Barenboim also quoted Article 9 of the Italian Constitution, which directs the government to promote culture and protect the nation’s artistic heritage.

There was an equally impassioned performance in front of the historic opera house earlier in the day as caribinieri beat and gassed protesters, hundreds of cultural workers and students from across Italy. The protests were in response to proposed drastic cuts in government funding for education and the arts.


DC Council Earmarks

August 3, 2009

DC Council Earmarks

DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray has done a brave and sensible thing by eliminating councilmember earmarks from the FY2010 District of Columbia budget. But what DC Government really needs is earmark abolition.

Earmarks are no-bid contracts in the nonprofit sector, and they undercut the city’s competitive grant programs and bidding practices. Earmarks reward the politically-connected, not the best-qualified. Councilmembers and staff do not have the expertise or time to assess the merits of each earmarked grant or knowledge of competing alternatives. The Barry earmarks are exhibit A.

But look at the arts and cultural grants the Council awarded for FY 2010 before they were erased from the budget. The $31 million in Council arts earmarks totaled nearly 4 times the entire FY 2010 budget of the D.C. Commission on Arts and Humanities. Why bother filling out a DCCAH grant application and putting it through competitive peer-panel review and Commission approval for a possible 4 or 5 -figure grant when your councilmember can get you more money without any paperwork?