City Arts Organizations Need Your Help

This exhibition, co-curated by two Department of Cultural Affairs employees and taking place in the Municipal Gallery of the City of Los Angeles is exactly the kind of innovative programming that’s threatened by the proposed staff and budget cuts. This show brings together 60 artists who represent the thriving experimental nature of Los Angeles’ art scene, possibly the first gathering of size in LA of artists of this experimental generation, raised on a diet of relational aesthetics and a dissatisfaction with the art world in general. Our city is being recognized as an art capital today because of the risks and experiments of the artists gathered in this exhibition.

Hello Eastsiders!  I live in the Harbor Area, but this affects the whole city, so I’ve asked to borrow this soapbox for a minute.

The Department of Cultural Affairs is being threatened with a 24-48% staff cut, the elimination of the entire $2.2 million grants budget and there is a motion to eliminate the ordinance that guarantees a %1 “hotel bed tax” that forms the core of the Department’s budget.  These cuts will cripple the department, and the elimination of the grants program will spread the pain out, further crippling the ability of scores of non-profits throughout the City to deliver key programming.

There are hard working people at the Department of Cultural Affairs who will lose their jobs, and kids who will not get an arts education if these cuts pass.  Small businesses and individual contractors who provide services to arts organizations will be hard hit.  Artists who desperately need support and venues for their work will find it gone.  I will likely have to cancel upcoming programming at Angels Gate if these cuts go through, and I know that other arts organizations will be even harder hit than the one I work for.

This situation has been developing for several days now, and even now as I write this there is a meeting about the elimination of the grants program.  I have a whole series of posts up at my site that go into detail about the cuts, you can read about it here, here and here.  Arts for LA has also been on top of this, and their site has lots of information as well.  The Times is barely covering this, at the time I’m writing this, the Culture Monster blog hasn’t even addressed the issue.

How you can get involved and make a difference

Angels Gate Cultural Center, in partnership with the Grand Vision Foundation, will be hosting a letter writing party tonight, February 1, at the Grand Annex on 6th Street in Downtown San Pedro from 5:30-8:00 pm.  We will provide paper, pre-written letters, writing assistance, pens, envelopes.  We will write letters to the city council, Council District 15 councilmember Janice Hahn and the Mayor’s office, letting them know how important the Department of Cultural Affairs and its services are to you and your families.  Your words can change things.

If you can’t make our letter writing party, you can write a letter online via Arts for LA’s website.  If you don’t live in the City, but enjoy the services provided by the DCA, you should direct your Emails to either council president Eric Garcetti.  You can write all of them if you like, too.  It’s easy.

Write a letter online here.

You can also contact your councilmember’s office directly, via the City of Los Angeles website. Nothing gets their attention more than a barrage of phone calls.

Marshall Astor

UPDATE, click ahead

The survival of the Department of Cultural Affairs may be decided at tomorrow’s City Council meeting.  If you haven’t already written letters at Arts for LA, please do so.

We are trying to organize one last “pre-meeting” effort to support the DCA and get our message to the City Council before tomorrow’s meeting.  Today, February 2, between 2 and 4 pm, we would like to ask you to call your councilmember, or if you are not located in the City of LA, but want to support the DCA and its mission, Council President Eric Garcetti and Budget and Finance Committee President Bernard Parks and let their staff know about your support.  You can also call the whole Council if you like!  It only takes a few minutes of your time.  Even if you’ve already written letters, this can help.

Arts for LA has an excellent talking points sheet that you can reference if you’re calling and here’s a short script that you can use that covers the most urgent issues:

“I’m calling to express my support for the Department of Cultural Affairs and to ask councilmember [insert their name here] to vote against the motion to remove the Transient Occupancy Tax funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs. The proposed elimination of all DCA grant programs is also completely unacceptable. Hundreds of organizations depend on those funds to serve their communities and the elimination of DCA grants will have far reaching effects on the whole region.

Under the current leadership of Olga Garay the Department is doing an amazing job at delivering essential arts services to the City. The Department has been on the receiving end of significant budget cuts in the past and cannot bear further cuts if it is intended to fulfill its mission.

Please vote against the motion to eliminate the Transient Occupancy Tax and please support the Departments grants program by keeping it in place and fully funded.

Thank You”

Here is a list of phone numbers for all 15 councilmembers and their offices:

District 1 – Ed Reyes
District Office: 213-485-0763
City Hall Office: 213-473-7001

District 2 – Paul Krekorian
North Hollywood Office: 818-755-7676
Sunland-Tujunga Office: 818-352-3287
City Hall Office: 213-473-7002

District 3 – Dennis P. Zine
District Office: 818-756-8848
City Hall Office: 213-473-7003

District 4 – Tom LaBonge
Hollywood Office: 323-957-6415
Valley Field Office: 818-755-7630
City Hall Office: 213-473-7004

District 5 – Paul Koretz
City Hall Office: 213-473-7005

District 6 – Tony Cardenas
Van Nuys Office: 818-778-4999
Sun Valley Office: 818-771-0236
City Hall Office: 213-473-7006

District 7 – Richard Alarcon
Pacoima Field Office: 818-756-9115
Sylmar District Office: 818-756-8409
City Hall Office: 213-473-7007

District 8 – Bernard Parks
Crenshaw District Office: 323-293-9467
City Hall Office: 213-473-7008

District 9 – Jan Perry
9th District Neighborhood City Hall: 323-846-2651
City Hall Office: 213-473-7009

District 10 – Herb J. Wesson, Jr.
Western District Office: 323-733-8233
City Hall Office: 213-473-7010

District 11 – Bill Rosendahl
Westchester District Office: 310-568-8772
West LA District Office: 310-575-8461
City Hall Office: 213-473-7011

District 12 – Greig Smith
Chatsworth District Office: 818-701-5253
Northridge District Office: 818-756-8501
City Hall Office: 213-473-7012

District 13 – Eric Garcetti
Hollywood District Office: 323-957-4500
Glassell Park Satellite Office: 323-478-9002
City Hall Office: 213-473-7013

District 14 – Jose Huizar
Boyle Heights Field Office: 323-526-3059
Northeast/Eagle Rock Field Office: 323-254-5295
El Sereno Field Office: 323-226-1646
City Hall Office:213-473-7014

District 15 – Janice Hahn
San Pedro Field Office: 310-732-4515
Watts Field Office: 213-473-5128
Wilmington Field Office: 310-233-7201
City Hall Office: 213-473-7015

3 thoughts on “City Arts Organizations Need Your Help

  1. I was gonna do a post on this too, but I couldn’t have said it better myself. The arts will not die in L.A. The city is straight out trippin. From Kathy Gallegos, Dear Friends: I want to alert you to a City Counsel meeting that will take place Wednesday, February 3 at 10:00 am at City Hall in the council chamber. There is a motion being heard “Item 13” which will remove the guaranteed funding from the hotel tax which comprises the entire budget for the Department of Cultural A…ffairs. DCA is not funded though tax dollars, solely through this tax on hotel tourism. The grants program is being targeted; all existing grants will be revoked and no grants will be given next year. Please see motion, and LA Times article,0,7045652.story. What this motion does is open the door for the City Council to reduce or eliminate funding for DCA’s programs without any impediments. It is clear through the LA Times articles that the grant program that support small arts organizations such as the Avenue 50 and other arts organizations throughout the city is the target. Our organization is dependent on this funding which supports artists and the arts community and has social and economic impact for the many artists we serve. This is a serious situation unlike those that may have happened in the previous years. This is real. If you want the City Council to see the faces and hear the voices of those impacted, I want to encourage you to attend this meeting. If you want to speak you need to fill out a card and hand it to the bailiff. There is public comment opportunity for you to speak for about one minute. I will be there. I hope to see you there too.

  2. The Motion #56 or 10-0150 that Random Hero linked to is the biggest problem. Without the TOT tax on hotel beds, there is no funding base for the DCA at all. If it passes, I fully expect the council to de-fund the department completely.

    I cannot understate how devastating the elimination of the grants program will be to the city. No one has any idea, and it has thrown scores of non-profits that are already struggling to pay bills and continue their service to the public into total chaos.

  3. These cuts are rough. City staff union took a 3000+ person staff cut voluntarily, but the city administration are still going to cut another 1000. The voluntary cut was a the top – the best paid people…. and the city admin want to cut the people at the bottom.

    These are people who have an ongoing, political relationship with the politicos, who turn out for election volunteering. And they got cut.

    zuma’s mean, but, he’s actually correct. not correct on his self aggrandizement, but arts definitely need a kind of political task force that keeps up on the city government.

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