Hike in cultural funding is urged
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is proposing a 12.2% spending increase for the Department of Cultural Affairs, which would receive the biggest boost during what has been a very lean, recession-racked 21st century for the city’s arts arm.
If the City Council OKs the plan, Cultural Affairs would get its first substantial staff increase since shedding nearly half its workers during the recession.
Garcetti’s plan would lift the core Cultural Affairs budget to $11 million from $9.8 million. That would mark the first time it has reached $11 million since 2003-04.
Accounting for inflation, $11 million was worth the equivalent of more than $13 million today.
The Cultural Affairs staff, led by 2014 Garcetti appointee Danielle Brazell as general manager, would rise to 49 from 41. The department had more than 70 employees in 2008, when it began outsourcing operations at many of the city-owned neighborhood theaters and arts centers.
Cultural Grants for Youth and Families, the main grant-making program that funnels money to scores of nonprofit arts groups, would rise almost 30%, to $2.9 million. The grants range from a few thousand dollars for the smallest groups to $52,000 to $55,000 for programs run by the L.A. Philharmonic, California Institute of the Arts, L.A. Opera and L.A. County Museum of Art.