Thursday, October 18, 2012

CITY HALL EYEBALL: Arts Department to become a non-profit

Posted By on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 3:19 PM

The city is set to announce Monday that the Spokane Arts Department will be eliminated and replaced with a non-profit organization funded and partly directed by several Spokane development groups.

The Downtown Spokane Partnership and the Public Facilities District are each contributing $25,000 toward the new organization's operations, according to City Council President Ben Stuckart. Visit Spokane is providing space for the new organization in its building.

Stuckart, a former member of the Arts Commission, which advises the city, ays the move will stop city arts funding from being a perennial "political football."

"As an Arts Commission, you'd spend half your year lobbying City Council members or lobbying the administration to keep [arts] in the budget and you're not actually getting what needs to get done, done," Stuckart says.

Karen Mobley, the current city arts director, will become interim director of the new group, according to Stuckart. 

The new arts organization will receive $100,000 in city funds next year, $80,000 in 2014 and $60,000 in the years after, according to Stuckart. In 2011, the city Arts Department was budgeted for about $135,000.

As a non-profit, the new group will also be able to seek grant funding.

The department has only narrowly avoided being gutted from a city budget that is still hurting from the Great Recession

The new organization will likely shift some of its focus more toward performing arts.

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