Monday, June 29, 2009

Why is science and history being funded with arts money?

For 2009, United Arts of Central Florida raised more than $3.1 million in its campaign to fund arts and approved nearly $1.7 million worth of grants to the following 13 groups:
Orlando Museum of Art | $283,261

Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra | $244,721

Orlando Ballet | $225,734

Orlando Science Center | $199,943

Orlando Shakespeare Theater | $120,775

Bach Festival Society | $91,345

Orlando Repertory Theatre | $67,736

Festival of Orchestras | $67,909

Enzian Theater | $43,607

Crealdé School of Art | $45,121

Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community | $42,541

Maitland Art Center | $36,152

Orange County Regional History Center | $27,163
This just might be my complete and total ignorance on this topic, but while these history and science entities are wonderful and deserve all the funding they can get, why is money from United ARTS (underline the word arts) funding entities not even involved in art? (Orlando Science Center | The History Center | Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community)

Again, this could be my ignorance speaking, but is there no history or historical preservation fund? Science and education fund? If so, then why are these groups dipping into the arts pocket? If not, then why are there not dedicated sources to fund the sciences and history programs in this city?

I am ready to be proven wrong! Bring it!


Elizabeth said...

Good point. I suspect the United Arts will have some blather to cover your question in its mission statement. But, there's that name and thats what people think they are donating to when they send in their hard-earned bucks. Seems a little bait and switch to me too.

Anonymous said...

If you look through the mission statement and vision, these are just the kind of cultural organizations that United Arts has evolved to fund. Some would argue that film or arts schools shouldn't be funded either. The fact is the board of ttrustees ($100,000+ donors) and board of directors have to approve all grantees, so if that's not where they wanted their money to go, they could stop it then or choose not to donate.

There is no similar support organization for these non-arts cultural organizations. Also, a lot of historical/arts monies ar bundled together at all levels of government. Advovacy, granting, and reporting are simply easier and more efficient when centralized.

A lot of the money raised are specifically raised by or allocated to UA for these organizations through designations or their trustee-level gifts.

The majority of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community's money goes to the ZORA! festival, celebrating the art and life of this woman, which elevates the arts AND history.

UACF is a very transparent United Arts group. Almost all the information a donor could want is online. People can easily see where the funds go.

Individuals can designate their donations to whichever group they want - and during campaign season, its eligible for a 15% match for GOS groups. If you didn't want anything to go to the science or history centers, they simply don't designate their donation in that way.

Cosmik said...

Ours is not to question why. Otherwise we'd be left to wonder why the city of Winter Park funds the Enzian Theatre in Maitland, but not the Winter Park Playhouse in WINTER PARK.

Mark Baratelli said...

Anonymous- So many great points!

I wonder if this scenario is possible: a more arts-based group getting denied funding due to a poor presentation while a non-arts group (the history center, the science center) has a glorious presentation, makes a big impression on the board(s), and scores the money over the arts group. I wonder if this scenario is possible.

If United Arts is designed to be able to hand out funds to non-arts-related groups, then do they deserve to brand themselves as an arts org when really they're an arts/science/history org? Really what United Arts might be is a funding source for "things to do in your spare time." And I do not mean that in a snarky tone whatsoever.

Mark Baratelli said...

Cosmic- I think perhaps my comment to Anonymous might apply to your point as well? Maybe. How do we know how Winter Park Playhouse's presentation to the UA board stacks up against Enzian's? If Enzian can prove (and I am making this up) that 96% of their audience is from Winter Park, that they serve 400,000 Winter Park residents each year, that they donate their space to 23 Winter Park civic groups each month, why should the city of Winter Park not be open to funding Enzian?

And, is Winter Park Playhouse for-profit? I know Enzian is non-profit, but I am unsure about WPP. Maybe that has something to do with it? Just guessing.

Awesome discussion!

Kristina said...

Winter Park funds Enzian so they can present popcorn flicks once a month in Central Park on Park Ave, at no cost to attendees.

Also, United Arts funds arts and cultural (emphasis there) organizations, which I would imagine certainly includes the Science Center, the History Center, the Zora Fest, and others.

Mark Baratelli said...

Ah, see! Ask and you get an answer. Winter Park funds Enzian b/c of Popcorn Flicks. Maybe if Winter PArk Playhouse wants some funding frm Winter Park, they can brainstorm an event that gets the people in Winter Park out and about like the Popcorn Flicks events.

Everything is culture. I mean, by that definition, United Arts could fund housing for the poor, ya know? I mean that is a HUGE leap in logic on my part, but do you see my (possible) point? Arts is arts. History is history. Science is science. Let UCF's science/tech departments sponsor the Science Center. Don't they sponsor part of Orlando Shakes? Or am I showing my ignorance once again. I know they used to be a part of Shakes, right?

Anonymous said...

I’m not bothered by History and Science organizations being funded by UA as much as I bothered by the choices UA makes in its use of resources across the board.

Additionally, in response to the comment about donors being given the option to designate to specific groups, what is happening to the money that was designated to The Orlando Opera Company? Were those donors contacted, given other options?