Wednesday, February 18, 2009

50 Million Defeats

Modern Arts Notes has just posted a blog entry on why the $50 million dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the federal stimulus package should be viewed as a defeat and not a victory. They then use San Diego as an example, saying that $50 million in stimulus doesn't amount to the cuts in San Diego alone, the nation's 17th largest metropolis. The article then cites that roughly 100,000 arts organizations create somewhere close to 6 million jobs. Therefore, support of the arts is vital to economic stimulation.

As someone who works for San Diego Opera I can say that the Arts do indeed create jobs. Our Company, which can employ hundreds of people for each production, is entirely local. The carpenters, the dressers, the electricians, stagehands, wig and make-up crew, chorus, symphony and administrative staff all live here in San Diego. We pay taxes. We put money into the local economy. Even our principal singers, who are not from San Diego but live here for 5 or 6 weeks, are paying rent, going out to eat, renting cars, visiting our attractions, etc... Add to that the people who travel into town to experience San Diego's cultural offerings (and we have plenty in town for Don Quixote) are paying TOTs, money which goes directly into city coffers, and it is hard to argue that the Arts are not a vital component to our local economy.

Now, $50 million is a lot of money. More than we'll ever see here at the Aria Serious tower, but in the grand scheme of things, when we're talking about an industry that employs 6 million individuals perhaps $50 million should indeed be viewed as a defeat and not a victory.

You can read the entire article on Modern Arts Notes, here.

-- Edward

No comments: