From the publisher...

A.S. Waterman

November 2008

Making Our Voices Heard

However we may feel about the interminable onslaught of election news, it is impressive to note how many different voices are being heard. Yet there remains an armored bastion that democracy has yet to pierce: the one that surrounds Louisville's and Kentucky's funding for the arts.

Every year, we make impassioned pleas to get our fine, smaller arts organizations their fair share of the money, and every year, those pleas fall on deaf ears. Those few mega-orgs with million-dollar budgets still get million-dollar allotments, although they can't seem to operate within them. They run up deficits, knowing that there will be more money where that came from. Meanwhile, those persons empowered to make the funding decisions operate behind a thick wall of secrecy. The result? Our independent theatres, who would be delighted to receive a $5,000 (or even a $500) gift, get nothing — and no one will tell us why.

Since August, the weekly newspaper LEO has been in possession of notes for an investigative article on funding for the arts, yet the story has not run. Reports differ as to the reason, but it seems to be due to petty internal squabbles. I am surprised by this, as LEO had previously been unflagging in its support for Kentuckiana's independent theatre, as well as for the people's right to know. TheatreLouisville respectfully calls upon LEO to release this story now, before the gates to funding slam shut for another year. If our supportive media won't speak up for us, who will?

We also call upon our daily papers, and especially The Courier-Journal, to look beyond the big numbers. Every year, a sizable block of space is given to naming those organizations that were (again) approved for the mega-grants. This year, we challenge the papers to also name those who were turned down. Covering only one side of a story isn't covering it at all, and "more of the same" is not news.

Ultimately, though, the metaphorical buck stops here, and we must all speak up for ourselves. As theatre people, our voices are loud and our confidence is strong. If you agree that over-funding the over-funded is not the way to go, write to the mayor, the governor and your elected officials. Let them know.

In a grand and glorious chorus, our swell of voices will be heard.

— A.S. Waterman

Copyright © 2008 A.S. Waterman. All rights reserved.


Artwork and text are copyright © 2006 and 2016 A.S. Waterman.
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