Executive Director of Spokane Arts Laura Becker has put out a call for a public show of support during the City Council meeting on Monday, March 14.
Anyone interested in attending is encouraged to meet in the Chase Gallery outside the City Council Chambers (808 W Spokane Falls Blvd) at 5:30pm on that day in anticipation of a “packed house, standing room only” to demonstrate how much value the arts have in Spokane.
“Let’s be a vibrant force in the audience, a visual reminder of our strength and unity and a collective voice for our arts community,” she writes.
Two weeks ago, Becker and Spokane Arts Board Chair Brooke Kiener delivered a presentation to City Council regarding Spokane Arts activities and a proposed budget amendment to redirect 33% of the admissions tax to the organization in support of its operating budget and the implementation of a grants program beginning in 2017.
Here are the key points of their proposal:
- No new tax will be imposed. Admissions tax is a 5% fee on ticketed events, and non-profits can apply for an exemption per event up to $20,000. Right now these taxes go into the general fund, which is the current source of funding for Spokane Arts. However, the organization is subject to cuts every budget cycle. This would help stabilize funding from the City in the long-term.
- Currently the city is seeing an annual growth rate of over 3%. Because this is being considered so early in the budget cycle, the amount redirected to Spokane Arts would be factored into this net gain. No existing programs would be cut, and many local organizations would benefit.
- Over half of the funds would be used to support a grants program, which would be open to local arts, culture, and heritage organizations and small creative enterprises. Over $100,000 would be funneled back to the community every year.
This amendment is being introduced by Council President Ben Stuckart, who has long maintained that arts and culture play an integral role to our civic identity and economic prosperity. More information is available in this article from the Spokesman-Review.
As part of this drive, a limited run of Spokane Arts T-shirts and buttons that say “Spokane Arts: Art Means Business” will be distributed in advance of the meeting in the Chase Gallery. All participants are asked to wear something in the organization’s signature orange color.
If public art and citywide art projects currently seem very distant from Emerson-Garfield, keep in mind that the proposed revitalization of North Monroe (among many other things) could bring renewed art-related activity to our neighborhood in the near future.
You can find out more about the event and RSVP at the Facebook event page.