published Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Allied Arts facing across the board cuts


by Cliff Hightower
Audio clip

Sally Robinson

Fifteen different agencies across Chattanooga could see funding cuts after the city reduced its funding for Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga, the organization's president said Wednesday.

"We'd have to trim back across the board," said Dan Bowers, president of Allied Arts. "It would probably be an across-the-board cut of everything."

In its 2009-2010 fiscal year budget, the city of Chattanooga proposed trimming the amount it gives Allied Arts to $150,000, a 42 percent decrease from the $255,000 the group received last year.

"A $105,000 cut would affect any organization," Mr. Bowers said. "It would be a tremendous blow. We didn't see this coming at all."

Allied Arts also is scheduled to receive $150,000 from Hamilton County, according to the budget recently submitted to the County Commission by County Mayor Claude Ramsey.

This week, Chattanooga City Council members began discussing ways to restore some of the funding to Allied Arts after hearing about the organization's potential losses.

Allied Arts, a nonprofit organization established in 1969, helps fund the arts throughout Chattanooga and Hamilton County, including the Chattanooga Boys Choir, Chattanooga Girls Choir and the Hunter Museum of American Art, Mr. Bowers said.

Funding to those agencies could see a reduction of 5 percent or more this year if the proposed city budget cuts go through, he said.

At Tuesday's City Council meeting, Chairman Jack Benson suggested that the city set up some type of grant program to match funds from other municipalities.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson said she did not think it viable for Allied Arts to go back to area governments asking for money, since most budget years began July 1.

"It's hard to amend a budget in the middle of a fiscal year," she said.

"That's true," Mr. Benson said. "But they can always reallocate."

Mrs. Robinson said the City Council will go line by line through the budget on Friday and, during that time, it might be able to find more money for Allied Arts.

"It's not a lethal blow. I don't think it will put them out of business," she said. "It's a crippling blow."

The council could look at making the cuts more "equitable" to agencies that receive funding from the city and the county, she said, and any agency getting more than $100,000 in city funding could be a subject for debate.

She said she would hate to cut money to some of the smaller agencies because they are "already on the ropes."

Councilwoman Pam Ladd said she agrees that there needs to be more fairness in cuts to city-county-funded agencies. Her solution, however, is to look more closely at agencies that are narrow in scope rather than those that offer a wide array of services for the most people.

She said she thinks some more funding could come to Allied Arts.

"I hate for one agency to be hit so dramatically," she said.

Mr. Bowers agreed that going back to local governments and asking for more money is not feasible. But it also would be tough to ask for more private donations, he said, since Allied Arts just finished its annual funding campaign in June and was able to raise $2 million.

"To go back to them now and try to glean this kind of money is not in the cards," he said.

BY THE NUMBERS

* $2 million: Amount of money Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga raised in its private campaign this year

* $255,000: Funding Allied Arts received from the city in 2008-2009 fiscal year

* $150,000: Proposed city budget for Allied Arts in 2009-2010 fiscal year

Source: City of Chattanooga, Allied Arts

CULTURAL PARTNERS

Agencies supported by Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga include:

* Arts & Education Council

* Association for Visual Arts

* Chattanooga Theatre Center

* Choral Arts of Chattanooga

* Ballet Tennessee

* Creative Discovery Museum

* Chattanooga African American Museum

* Houston Museum of Decorative Arts

* Chattanooga Ballet

* Chattanooga Boys Choir

* Chattanooga Girls Choir

* Hunter Museum of American Art

* Chattanooga History Center

* Chattanooga Symphony and Opera

* Shaking Ray Levi Society

Source: Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga

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Alex said...

You failed to mention that the City of Chattanooga is reducing funding to the Childrens Advocacy Center that provides medical treatment to child abuse victims.

As a taxpayer, I should not be mandated to fund the Allied Art program, the function of government is to provides essential services, not art. The public should not be mandated to fund art.

September 10, 2009 at 7:25 a.m.
harrystatel said...

From the people who gave us rocks in steel baskets, brightly colored metal fru-fru on Main Street, giant pick-up sticks that look like a demolition gone awry, and assorted other "art", now they're complaining about a reduction of $105,000.00 from taxpayers.

Let's take all the government money out of Allied Arts. It's always amazed me that while Allied Arts boasts about the roster of members, many of whom are multi-millionaires, they find it necessary to take taxpayer money to dole out to their minions.

Say Allied Arts!--- Why not sell some of those important art works to private parties and collect those vast sums of taxpayer money you've "generously provided" to cohorts and insiders? How about pulling your own weight and not stepping on the backs of the people who actually work and pay taxes?

Then again, the price for scrap metal has fallen, just like the elitist facade of "Allied Arts Knows Best."

I bet you could eliminate one or two feel-good positions in your bureaucracy and easily cover the shortfall.

But where can these poor, unemployed bureaucrats find work? Easy really, find another incestuous "non-profit" in Chattanooga supported by taxpayer money. We're full of them.

September 10, 2009 at 3:12 p.m.
gwbled said...

last year Allied Arts helped with the 45 million dollars that the city of chattanooga had spent due to arts. i think that is better than a water park.

September 10, 2009 at 7:34 p.m.

Allied arts is a club or rich elitists who raised over 2.5 million on their own yet somehow need to add to the tax burden of the common working class family who couldn't give a crap about their vanity project.

September 11, 2009 at 9:03 p.m.
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