Save Public Funding for the Arts

Indianapolis City County Council to Hear Budget Testimony on Sept. 8
September 5, 2008, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Public arts funding

The last public hearing for the 2009 Indianapolis budget, as presented by Mayor Greg Ballard, is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. Get there early and don’t forget to sign up to speak – the public assembly room will fill up fast since testimony will be heard on many aspects of the budget.

This is the last public opportunity for residents, artists and arts education and outreach program participants to testify about their experiences and why they support continued city funding for the arts.

As Mark Miles from CICP said yesterday at the annual Start with Art luncheon, Mayor Ballard “gets it.”  He understands the valuable role that art can play in a community, especially in the lives of young people. That’s why he kept funding for the arts in the budget and is looking for ways to move the funding out from under the property tax umbrella in the city’s budget.

Indianapolis is fortunate that its Mayor gets it.  City funding for the arts leverages private donations. In fact the Arts Council of Indianapolis requires a dollar-for-dollar match in order to receive city funding. The arts create a vibrant community. They create economic opportunity. They reflect the personality of the city and attract out of town visitors (and out of county patrons). AND they contribute to public safety. Colonel Dean Esserman, police chief of the Providence, Rhode Island police force, shared many examples yesterday about how his force partners with the arts to give kids self-esteem, keep them off the streets, and show them that “love comes first, about all.”

Please raise your voice one more time to ensure that the majority of the City County Council get it too.


Arts Council to testify Thursday
August 20, 2008, 7:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Arts Council of Indianapolis will give its public testimony on the budget to the Parks and Recreation Committee on Thursday, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. in Room 260 at the City County Building.  The room has been pretty full in previous years, so come early if you want to come show your support for ongoing public funding for the arts.

A couple of Councilors have told me recently that they value the arts and are looking for creative solutions in order to provide city support for the arts and arts programs – financial as well as in-kind.  If you can, please come to the committee hearing, as well as the public budget hearing on Sept. 8, to share your own story with them about the value of arts education and the impact the arts has on Indianapolis’ quality of life and economic development.

Mayor Ballard voices support for arts funding; the public hearing scheduled for Sept. 8
August 11, 2008, 7:29 pm
Filed under: Public arts funding

In his budget presentation to the City County Council tonight, Mayor Ballard expressed his understanding of the link between arts funding and economic development in Indianapolis.  He reminded the Council that his budget proposal included $1 million for the arts and that, contrary to what was being said, he had no intention of eliminating the arts budget.

So what’s next?

1.  Attend the public hearing on the budget on Sept. 8.  This is your chance to voice your support through your attendance and public testimony.  More information about this hearing and other committee hearings on arts funding to come.

2.  Contact your Councilors.  Visit to find out who your City County Councilor is and let him/her know of your support for Mayor Ballard’s budget, which maintains arts funding.  Let your Councilor know that you are aware of the difficult budget year and that arts – like all other departments and programs – must share in the burden of cuts to achieve a balanced budget.  But also voice your concern about the Council’s earlier statement about zeroing out arts funding over the next three years. Ask your Councilor to reject that as an option.

3. Encourage others to voice their support for the arts.  This site will remain active through the budget process, which goes through Sept. 22.  I have sent copies of the comments to date to all Councilors and to the Mayor’s office.  Since they are aware of the site, your continued votes of support are important.

4. Finally, know your facts. The best advocates are the ones that deal in facts, not rumors or deliberate misdirection.  There are still some misperceptions out there about how the City Council’s arts funding is used.  Visit for more information. Check out a past Arts Council annual report to see the list of organizations that receive funding.  Go to and review the budget information available. 

Thanks to everyone for their comments and votes of support for the arts and arts funding.

August 8, 2008, 5:11 pm
Filed under: Public arts funding

THANKS! to everyone who has added their voice in support of city funding for the arts.  The voting post below hit 1,000 comments at lunchtime today (Friday) and your comments already are starting to receive a tremendous amount of attention.

I’m starting this second post since the first now takes a long time to load with all those comments!  If you want the City County Council to keep public funding for the arts, use the comment sections to place your vote. PLEASE include your full name.

An open question from Councilor Jackie Nytes
August 7, 2008, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Public arts funding

Councilor Nytes took the time last night to review your comments and sent the following e-mail.  She poses a couple of great questions. What are your thoughts? (And if you still want to lend your support, scroll to the “VOTE HERE” post)

I took a look and was pleased to see comments from lots of people I do not know so at least it is not just the same few of us over and over speaking out for this.….  I share your opinion about this Important investment! I have a tough question however 

The reality is that there will be reductions in revenue due to the changes in the property taxes that the legislature passed.  Tell me where you think we should get the money for the arts.  For example, would you be willing to reduce spending on public safety to keep the arts funding?  Would you be willing to reduce the raises that we give the police and fire fighters in order to keep the arts funding?  I am very serious in asking this because those things are going to go up in this budget while the spending for the arts and the Parks goes down.

One of your commentators suggested reducing the salaries of the Councillors…for the record we make about $13,000 so maybe you already get what you pay for with us!  Not much to pick up by cutting our salaries… 

I will look again tomorrow and see what else posts.  If you think people would respond, raise my questions with them because we have to make some choices. 

Jackie Nytes

City County Councillor, District 9


Arts inspire. Information empowers.
August 7, 2008, 2:01 am
Filed under: Public arts funding

Thanks to everyone who has already cast a thoughtful vote for city arts funding. If you want to lend your support, scroll down to the “VOTE HERE” post and add your vote.

For those that want more information on how the current city funding is used, the Arts Council of Indianapolis has posted a new page on its Web site.  At the bottom of the page are brochures and links to examples of how the City’s investment in the arts is used to create a vibrant community or see how it contributes to public safety.

WXNT to talk arts funding Aug. 6
August 5, 2008, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Hoosiers For Fair Taxation blog includes a post about Councilor Christine Scales (who is opposed to funding for the arts), who will talk about the city budget and cutting arts funding on Abdul in the Morning on WXNT at 7:10 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday). Mayor Ballard will be Abdul’s guest from 8 to 9 a.m.  on the same topic. If you want to call in your support for arts funding, this is your chance. The number is (317) 228-1430.