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Re: Support and Survival of the Arts in Jersey City
#1
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If these are issues that matter to you and you'd like Jersey City to support arts in terms of funding, communtiy input, planning and enforcement of arts ordinances, please sign the petition below:

https://www.change.org/p/mayor-steven- ... apper&utm_medium=copylink

Posted on: 5/18 11:13
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Re: Support and Survival of the Arts in Jersey City
#2
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Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:

The thing about hyperbole and shrill posts is that it makes it easy to dismiss what would otherwise could have been good points.

Obviously, the city contributes to the arts, but you just don't like how they go about it, or (perhaps willfully?) ignore their contributions. Yes, there is the (much maligned) mural program, as well as the various subsidies and support provided to programs like Groove on Grove, or the Riverview Jazz Festival. There is, of course, the Office of Cultural Affairs, and the various programs and services they sponsor and support. There is the debacle that is the Loew's Theater, which for years got city support and is now mired in litigation. Examples of city funding of arts and arts-related programs and services abound. Heck, there are even development policies that have secured low cost housing for artists in some new buildings.

So, yes, I do think some so-called artists can be presumptuous and demanding.


Greater detail and transparency of this arts funding would be greatly appreciated. To my knowledge: Groove on Grove is funded entirely by small businesses associated with the HDSID. The Mural Project pays for supplies but not artists fees - and the funds are drawn from anti-gaffiti money from the state - not municipal funds. I don't have info on the Loew's - would love to hear their experience about funding from the city - but my guess is that it's been abysmal or non-existent.

Bottom line is that while you go about defending city policy on arts - the landscape of arts organizations is barren. We have not retained key organizations such as the Jersey City Museum, Jersey City Children's Theater, Attic Ensemble, and others. Arts leaders are giving up on Jersey City left and right. In fact - can you name one arts non-profit that has a viable operation - staffing, paid employees, reasonable donor base, etc? No - you can't because there aren't any.

That is why there needs to be leadership from city government. It also means that the community - residents and local business - needs to become more aware of what is needed to sustain arts and become more supportive.

Posted on: 5/18 10:23
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Re: Support and Survival of the Arts in Jersey City
#3
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Quote:

bodhipooh wrote:


The NYC comparisons are so tiring...

NYC has 32 times the population of JC. Any number you throw out there when comparing JC to NYC should factor that in. Not to mention that due to economy of scales, their budget and other numbers/stats are entirely different than ours.

How much does our city spend on arts or arts-related programs? Is it more than 5.5 MM? If so, we are spending more than NYC. If it is less, perhaps we don't have the economy of scales to do better.

Hey, NYC had about 350 homicides each of the past few years... but we had about 25, more than twice as many per 100,000 residents. Why is that? We should have had about 21 instead.

As the saying goes... numbers don't lie, statistics do.


If Jersey City were giving $5.5 million to the arts - trust me - you would be seeing the biggest lovefest of artists and politicos that has ever existed since King Louis the XIV of France pronounced himself the Sun King and bankrolled spectacles of dance, music, scenery, and debauchery in his royal court. Were it so...

Reality check: I don't believe the City gives 1 penny in direct funding to the arts - unless you count the real estate marketing scheme that is the mural program...

But you're right: comparisons with NYC are so tiring... Economies of scale... We're too small to have one functioning professional arts organization. A museum is too much to ask. A professional theater group with a paid staff and actors? How presumptuous and demanding of us artists...

Posted on: 5/18 0:02
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Re: Support and Survival of the Arts in Jersey City
#4
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Quote:

Monroe wrote:
You think Fulop is going to hand over 100% of the hotel tax to an independent person to spend as an arts advocate? What exactly are you guys smoking to think that would ever happen?


Yes - Jersey City should dedicate the 3% hotel tax to the arts - that's $209,000. Not exactly a whopping number. New York City gives $178 million annually to the arts.

Support from the city will boost credibility, allow arts non-profits to build internal operations as opposed to rely on earned income and income tied to programming, and position themselves to chase funding from larger foundation and government sources.

The arts are only sustainable when there is widespread support - including government, foundaiton and individuals. Heck?! Maybe even some JC Listers will start becoming arts patrons and audiences instead of spending all that productive time being snarky on these threads... Think of the possibilities!

Posted on: 5/17 22:24
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Support and Survival of the Arts in Jersey City
#5
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I attended New Jersey City University's Arts and Culture Breakfast Symposium on last Thursday morning with a wide array of artists and arts leaders representing arts groups from all over Jersey City and representing all different media in the arts. It is encouraging that NJCU is playing the role of a facilitator of communication.

Unfortunately, I was dismayed and frustrated by the lack of awareness, inability to articulate, and tone deaf comments by the government officials in attendance. No personal offense intended - but the arts are a highly sophisticated and educated field that requires individuals who possess knowledge, contacts, and education in the areas of arts and non-profit management. Beyond the individuals on the panel with specific experience in arts management, I heard nothing but more platitudes about Jersey City's "great arts scene". One official, at a loss for describing his familiarity with Jersey City arts, spoke about his passion for karaoke. Another seemed to be swimming in gibberish, incomprehensible to anyone in the room. A third trotted out the same tried and true excuse: we are fixing everything the prior administration did wrong. (Isn't there a statute of limitation on that one?) None appeared to have a grasp of the challenges facing arts and arts groups in Jersey City nor ideas for remedying the crisis that arts in Jersey City are facing. Are these officials aware that there is not one arts organization in Jersey City with even marginally adequate funding for operations in spite of our location in the most economically active region in the state?

Last week's meeting conveyed no confidence that the city possesses the will, awareness, or expertise to address the underlying issues of: negligible arts funding, lack of professional arts performance/exhibition space, inclusion of arts in city planning decisions, enforcement of arts provisions in zoning and other ordinances. At today's panel discussion the tension in the room between the official "party line" about support for the arts - and the reality that Jersey City arts groups face in Jersey City - was so thick you could have cut it with a knife.

I hope local government will prove me wrong about their commitment to the arts. Or perhaps these pols, in their campaign year calculations, will decide that providing real policy and leadership in the arts is not as cheap and easy as highly publicized window dressing: murals, public arts events barely discernible from poltical rallies paid for by the tax payers but with the mayor's face front and center.

Posted on: 5/16 6:53
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When Government Co-Opts the Arts
#6
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When Government Co-Opts the Arts

Recent announcements have come with great fanfare from the administration in Jersey City City Hall. Let’s create a new museum! Paint murals on city walls to show how artistic we are!
And the latest: Announcing the Jersey City Philharmonic Orchestra – World renowned directors and musicians! Cities across the nation take civic pride in their orchestras – now we have one too! With just 7 days notice – PRESTO! A brand new philharmonic orchestra! City employees: crank up the publicity machines! Pump up the social media posting! And whose face is plastered over the marketing of these benevolent, enlightened initiatives?

Sorry folks. That’s not how it works. City governments don’t birth arts organizations.

Artists create arts. Communities believe in the value of arts and get involved in arts organizations as ticket-buying attendees, as donors, as volunteers, as board members. There is a large, studied, and established field of arts administration, advocacy and engagement – people who know their field, their art form, and what it takes to build arts participation and sustainability.

From what I can tell from these newly touted arts initiatives: this ain’t it.

Is there thorough planning being done to explore sustainability for arts and culture in Jersey City? Has the notable lack of established arts organizations, and arts funding (government, corporate, private donations) in Jersey City been explored? And the lack of an arts infrastructure? Where are our concert halls? Our museums? Our art galleries? Why have theater companies failed over and over again in our “artistic” home city? Please explain how a new museum is likely to succeed – competing against the 4-5 world’s top museums across the river, and without the culture of philanthropy that props up arts institutions in New York?

And what about the funds to pay for these recent arts initiatives from Jersey City City Hall? Is the city now flush with discretionary funding? Who’s picking and choosing these initiatives and is there community input? Are there actual vetted professionals in the arts sector involved in this planning?

We sit across the river from one of the world’s art capitals. Two notable differences between us and them:

Difference #1: in the back pages of NYC theater, orchestra, ballet, opera, and museum program booklets there are columns and columns of donors – in the ranges of $1mil +, $500,000+, $100,0000+, $10,000+. No, we will never be New York – but is it not true that we once had a legitimate museum? And didn’t that museum crumble when the Jersey City government decided to withdraw funding (it was no longer politically expedient?) and there were no other significant sources of support to keep the museum afloat? Arts need broad-based and diverse sources of support - are those sources of support represented in the much publicized new city arts initiatives? What city policies and initiatives can plant a seed for arts to grow organically and sustainably? Miracle Gro and arts are generally not compatible.

Difference #2: Orchestras in New York City don’t have Bill de Blasio’s face on their marketing materials. Go figure…

When government co-opts the arts: arts become a commodity with little shelf-life. The arts become a means to political ends. Maybe a marketing team will be able to keep convincing us that we live in an arts haven – it’s good for property values after all.

Jersey City: Make it yours.

Posted on: 2016/5/11 21:31
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