Tuesday, September 15, 2009

City money for who? for you?

My friends at Collective Arts Think Tank (CATT) published our 2nd post about NYC funding (Department of Cultural Affairs). It's concise and question-driven. We are hoping to speak with DCA in response.

I have another question to throw into the mix though:

The current multi-year funding process could benefit from some transparency so that the arts community can strive towards best practices in their applications for funding.

If you are a lucky recipient of multi-year funding from the DCA: your 1st year multi-year funding amount is announced and "contracted" at a certain $ level. (This is super and helps arts orgs plan for the future!)


What happens the 2nd year? Multi-year $ is not set in stone alas. Your contracted amount can be cut or increased according to the rise and fall of the NYC budget. Last year and this year the warning that cuts were imminent was done well in advance so that you could plan (great!)

We got a tiny decrease last year and a bigger one this year. That's hard for us but I get it. I do. I just want to understand it so we can do better next year.

I called our kind Program Officer with these questions but got no real response except "there is no peer review of multi-years. We need to fill the gaps in the budget."

So who determines the cuts/increases? If not a peer-review process then it is ________? DCA staff, City Council, lobbyists? Is it across the board everyone gets cuts 2% or 8%? Nope. Some get big cuts, some small, some get increases!

Can we get feedback so we can do better in the future?

DCA is honorably committed to transparency and I love that. I'd love to see that transparency infiltrate the multi-year funding process as well so that grantees can endeavor to hit the highest marks possible.

On another note: look at what the odd city of Sacramento is doing for their arts community. Thanks Thomas Cott! It looks like Bloomberg is in for another round and with the anniversary of Lehman's demise and the crazy bonuses at Goldman (did I misunderstand??) maybe we can create a similar effort to support non-profits in this city who are still reeling from the crisis (and next year will only be worse for most of us??)


Lise Brenner said...

Not about DCA but about the CATT blog - it is so thoughtful and clearly stated - thanks to all of you.

cookie! said...

Thanks Lise! Stay tuned for more from CATT!