Re: Support and Survival of the Arts in Jersey City

Posted by JPhurst on 2017/5/18 11:20:08
I mentioned this on a FB thread started by one of the petition signatories. There are 2 events from the past that have to inform this discussion. The first is the Healy administration's decision to abandon the Powerhouse Arts District and allow the demolition of 111 First Street. That building was the center of the downtown arts community, and the settlement with Goldman essentially gutted the district and the arts scene down there.

Don't get me wrong, there are still lots of artists downtown and throughout the city, but that decision demolished the central facility, dispersed the community of artists, and made it clear that the city was not going to defend its zoning and planning decisions.

The second is the collapse of the Jersey City Museum. The City, largely through the advocacy of former council President Vega, funded the museum, and required developers to contribute to the museum in exchange for getting the plans and the abatement that the developers wanted. The Museum had a professional staff with arts training. In other words, it had many of the things that are being demanded now.....and it ended up not being able to sustain itself and could not even account for its inventory.

I believe funding for arts programs is reasonable, and we should be able to find some more money in a budget of over half a billion. However, there is a difference between giving an operating grant to help a group with a portion of theor budget and having a city guarantee funding for a group from soup to nuts (and I'm not saying that is what is being expected).

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