Budget Brings Up Issues With the Arts

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

Musical Director of the Bowling Green Chamber Orchestra, Jeff Reed says, "I don't believe in entitlement for the arts. I think the arts should be accountable. I think the arts should show that people are buying tickets people are coming to their concerts that people are giving their own donations, that corporations are sponsoring the events."

But with the City Commission deciding not to fund programs like the Bowling Green Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, which were seeking a combined $13,000 for the upcoming year, Reed believes the arts are taking a major hit.

"We are now the only fully professional orchestra in the state of Kentucky whose city does not fund it."

Both orchestras were denied funding along with the VSA Arts of Kentucky and the Mammoth Cave Chapter Barbershop Harmony Society, which leaves the arts barely represented in this year's budget.

"If we had approved every single arts organization that applied to the city and did that at their requested amount, it would have been $115,000 and that would have been one-tenth of one percent of the largest budget the city's ever approved," says Mayor Elaine Walker.

But the Commissioners that voted not to give the arts extra money this year say they have nothing against the arts, but they have to look at the big picture which includes road construction and other issues the city faces.

"I believe it is my responsibility on the City Commission not to just look at this year, but the future. Long after I'm not even alive. What is the financial responsibility we need to be setting for the city going forward," says Commissioner Slim Nash, who voted against the orchestras.

According to Mayor Walker, the arts will receive 5/100th of 1 percent from the 105 million dollar budget.


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