Monday, February 22, 2010

Real money

Check out the Bruce Miller's latest post at the Barksdale blog about the VCA situation. The line that hits me the hardest: "The elimination of state funding to the Virginia Commission for the Arts will cost Theatre IV and Barksdale Theatre an additional loss of $190,000 per year." You think arts in Virginia are in dire straits now? Our legislators are doing their best to make it worse.

1 comment:

Jacquie O. said...

Bruce Miller could not have said it any better. I would also lke to share with you and your readers another letter that was sent to the RTD today by one of our board members (this is being sent to you with permission by the author.)

To the Editor:

Are the arts a luxury only the rich should have? That would be the outcome if the House of Delegates' plan to phase out the Virginia Commission for the Arts becomes law, leaving Virginia the only state not to fund the arts.

I have seen what happens when state funding is suddenly withdrawn from communities. Growing up in a modest farming community in upstate New York in the 1970s, I enjoyed art fairs and workshops, traveling theater and chamber music performances, all supported by a healthy state Arts Council with a mandate for statewide outreach. In elementary school, I took violin lessons with a performer who alternated between performing at local churches and Carnegie Hall.

By the early 80s, the funding had gone and with it the artists. The only people in town who ever went to see ballet or hear live jazz were the families who could travel 30 miles to the next city and pay upwards of $20 (steep at the time) a ticket. Concertgoing went from being something everyone did in the parks on summer evenings or at the community college after work to a dress-up affair for the aged and the high-brow.

It is virtually inevitable that without public financing, the arts will revert to being the exclusive property of Virginia's elite.

Raphael Seligmann, Ph.D.