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    The Mayor’s Proposed Arts Budget

    Part of the Mayor’s Proposed 2014 budget includes the Office of Arts & Culture (OAC), which provides grants to artists and arts organizations, funding for arts education, and manages the City’s Percent for Art program.

    OAC receives its funding from revenues generated by an admissions tax of 5% on most Seattle entertainment events, thereby providing a nexus between the Office’s mission and the source of its funding. But, this funding source is highly sensitive to unanticipated swings in attendance to various events, to economic conditions, and to people’s ability and desire to spend money on entertainment.

    OAC logo blue 2013Lately, admission tax revenues have risen to the point of the Mayor proposing an increase to the office’s spending in 2014. That’s good news for Seattle’s arts community, which has for years suffered reductions in funding from both public and private sources.

    The Mayor is proposing that OAC restore funding for administration and accounting, which is needed after past cuts and recent additions to the office’s workload. It recently added management of the Langston Hughs Performing Arts Center, expanded their arts education program and added a cultural facilities capital funding program.

    He’s also proposing increases to the amounts awarded through OAC’s capital facitlites and arts education programs. You can study the details of the Mayor’s proposed arts office budget here.

    In order to allow the arts community a voice in prioritizing the arts office’s budget, the Council passed Ordinance 123460 in 2010 calling on the Seattle Arts Commission (SAC) to submit a written report to OAC’s director outlining their budget priorities before the director submits her or his budget to the Mayor. SAC is also expected to provide the City Council its written comments on the Mayor’s proposed arts office budget within 15 days of the Mayor presenting it.

    I will carefully consider the Arts Commission’s budget comments as I and my colleagues review the Mayor’s proposed budget for OAC.

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