Hike in cul­tural fund­ing is urged

Los Angeles Times - - CALENDAR - — Mike Boehm

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.

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