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Raleigh Wants to Increase Funding for the Arts

Posted January 24, 2008

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— The Raleigh City Council is looking to increase the amount of money the city allots for the arts by an additional $185,000.

Right now, the city takes about $4 per taxpayer from its general fund. However, city leaders want to increase that amount to $4.50 by July 1, followed by another raise of 50 cents in 2009.

Mayor Charles Meeker said the money that the city has set aside for arts is lacking.

"Frankly, the value of what we are giving now is worse than what we gave 10 years ago," Meeker said.

Mary Poole, executive director of the nonprofit ArtSpace, argued that the arts increase the attractiveness of life in large cities.

"The arts can inspire so much," Poole said. "You've got to have a lively cultural environment."

The city's arts commission manages the money and doles it out to local artists and arts organizations that apply for funding. Nonprofit groups, such as ArtSpace, depend on the grant money to keep their programs running.

ArtSpace provides space for artists to create and sell their works. Painter Eric McRay says those art programs helped keep him off the streets when he was younger.

"It changed my whole life, from the age of 16 until now," McRay said.

11 Comments

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  • UNC Doc Jan 25, 2008

    I think we can help fund art museums to keep them open, but not individual artists.
    These "artists" who think that us low-brows aren't sophisticated to see the deeper meaning of their taxpayer-funded fecal matter-on-a-stick can't sell their junk in the real world.
    Next time you are driving down the street and see some hideous monstrosity on the side of the road, you can be guaranteed that it is in front of a government building.
    Your tax dollars at work.
    The comment about the police officers is about the best observation that I have seen yet.

  • DougWare.NET Jan 25, 2008

    I'm from Durham, we have our problems too. One question? Why is it the citizens of Raleigh's job to pay for someone's art that they can't get private (read as consumer level) funding.

    Maybe I should become an artist and move to Raleigh. I'm pretty bad at all art, but Raleigh will support me.

  • colliedave Jan 25, 2008

    Charley "wants a choo-choo train" Meeker wants to increase public spending on the "arts." This guy must believe money really does grow on trees and in the tooth-fairy. How long will it be until we flush this guy down the toilet?

  • whatelseisnew Jan 25, 2008

    I would really love to have a giant bucket of other folks money to fritter away. How joyful the Mayor's life must be.

  • miketroll3572 Jan 25, 2008

    You gotta be kidding me. Raleigh is in a water shortage and Meeker is blowing money on the arts. Why not let them fund themselvs and use the money toward the water problem. Somebodys got their head in the wrong place. Wake up people.

  • weasleyes Jan 25, 2008

    On a local, state, and national level, if it's "art," it should fund itself! NO public funds at any level! If no one (notice that I didn't spell it "noone") appreciates it enough to buy it, it ain't "art!" I worked this week close to the $50,000 tower on Capital Boulevard that someone called "art." I cannot believe that we are crazy enough to spend money on such nonsense!

  • leo-nc Jan 25, 2008

    "I thought WRAL ran an article a week ago about our police being 58 officers short and in need of raises. I am glad the city is addressing this issue by increasing their spending on the arts. Folks, if you hear a window break in the back bedroom, call a city-funded artist. They'll bring their tax-paid brushes and assist you."-- The Dude

    I couldn't have said it any better than this. They want to add funding for the arts and you have police officers leaving in droves because of pay issues. I hope the city will do the right thing and pay the cops!

  • coolwill Jan 25, 2008

    NO NO No, Meeker has been spending from day one. No

  • The Dude Jan 25, 2008

    I thought WRAL ran an article a week ago about our police being 58 officers short and in need of raises. I am glad the city is addressing this issue by increasing their spending on the arts. Folks, if you hear a window break in the back bedroom, call a city-funded artist. They'll bring their tax-paid brushes and assist you.

  • Steve Crisp Jan 25, 2008

    I am truly glad, Mr. McCray, that you were able to benefit from the largesse of our tax dollars to improve you life. Now it is time to take your first generation success at the public trough and turn it into a second generation private venture. Why don't you take some of that experience and wealth and fund the program so that the seed we planted will not have to be kept watered over and over and over by money raped from our pockets?

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