The Morning Report
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Here are some of the storylines we’ll be following in the coming year:
• Public funding for arts: San Diego’s mayor, Jerry Sanders, set off a fresh round of uncertainty this fall about the city’s funding for art when he recommended the city stop setting aside money for public art (such as sculptures at fire stations and lifeguard towers) while the city’s budget is in crisis.
The county changed its policies on the grants it gives out to nonprofits, including local arts organizations. And one city councilman’s proposal for the city budget includes a cut to the grants for local arts and culture organizations and to the city staff employed to foster them.
All of this adds up to more battles over how governments think about funding arts in the face of looming cuts to other services like public safety, what local art institutions can expect to receive from their governments and how they might fill the gaps left by changing policies.
• It’s not like budgets are flush for local arts organizations, either. A musical theater company that’s been around for more than two decades sent out a desperate plea for donations this fall and said it might have to sell the historic theater it renovated and calls home. Another theater company told the Union-Tribune it had laid off five staff a few weeks ago.
I’ve heard of other people working for arts organizations across the county taking cuts in hours or losing their jobs entirely. We’ll be watching to see how arts organizations weather the next few months. Keep us posted with any tips you think we should know about.
• And how do the artists themselves make it here? In one of our recent installments of our weekly roundup of local arts news, we looked at the economic balancing acts of local dancers, stage actors and artists. A professional singer wrote to chime in: it takes a half-dozen singing jobs to make a full-time living in San Diego, she said. We’ll keep tabs on these efforts; how does the artist you know make a living in San Diego?
I’m the arts editor for VOSD. Have an idea for another storyline I should be following in the coming months? Please contact me directly at email@example.com or 619.325.0531. You can also follow me on Twitter: @kellyrbennett.