Tuesday (2/2) on the Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster, Christopher Knight writes, “Times are tough. They have been for a long while, and they will continue to be for longer still. And when times are tough, art’s importance increases. …Now, will someone please tell that to the brain trust over at L.A. City Hall? In the face of very real city budget woes, which amount to an immediate shortfall of $199 million for the current fiscal year (ending in June), draconian measures have been proposed for the arts. …What’s proposed? Cut the Cultural Affairs Department almost in half. …The proposal would cut the department’s staff of 63 employees by 43%, 16 by layoffs and 11 by early retirement. The move would do inevitable, serious damage to venues all over the city, such as the Municipal Art Gallery and the Watts Towers Art Center. What else? Terminate existing contracts for arts grants that have already been awarded but whose projects have not yet begun. Suspend the grant program for 2010-11. That’s right: Zero it out.”

Posted February 3, 2010