Los Angeles Music Center to Benefit from Rare Government Largesse

Classic Arts News   Los Angeles Music Center to Benefit from Rare Government Largesse
We don't often see happy news where arts funding is concerned, but 2007 should be a good year for Los Angeles arts institutions.

The Los Angeles Music Center will be among the cultural venues to benefit from a county decision to more than double arts grants in the coming fiscal year, from $2.2 million to $4.5 million, reports The Los Angeles Times. In addition to that increase, the Music Center — the downtown complex which includes Walt Disney Conert Hall (home of the L.A. Philharmonic), the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (home of the Los Angeles Opera), the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre, will receive a one-time grant of $5 million.

The Times reports that the extra funding was allocated from an unexpected $400 million surplus left from the 2005-06 budget year. "During tough budget years, arts programs are oftentimes the first to endure cuts. Given that we are in the midst of much rosier fiscal circumstances, it is entirely appropriate that we augment our arts program," Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina said in a statement issued after a $20 billion budget, including $62.9 million for arts and culture, was approved for fiscal 2006-07.

From that budget, the Music Center will receive a total of $19.3 million; it will possibly spend the one-time $5 million grant on reupholstering the seats and upgrading the heat and air conditioning in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, according to the paper.

On the state level, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a $5.1 million budget for the California Arts Council, a $1.8 million boost that relies on projected income from arts lovers' voluntary purchases of special license plates. According to the Times, the state government's per capita spending on the arts has dropped to lowest in the nation.

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