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L.A. arts layoffs raise concerns for neighborhood arts centers

March 23, 2010 |  3:15 pm

OlgaGarayWarnerGrand The city's Department of Cultural Affairs will lose seven staff members on April 1, with more cuts expected by July 1 as the weight of huge projected citywide budget deficits begins to hit home.

The cuts include the directors of the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro and the William Grant Still Arts Center in West Adams. Olga Garay, the department's executive director, says she'll try to shuffle remaining staff to keep those facilities open.

Both are on a list of nine city-owned arts centers where the government hopes to lay off staff and recruit private nonprofit groups to take over as operators.

Supporters of two arts centers in Hollywood's Barnsdall Park and two others next to the Watts Towers already have told a committee of the City Council that they're concerned about the haste of the privatization plan; the full council will likely get an earful at its meeting on Wednesday.

The worst-case scenario: Private operators don't come forward to take over all the centers the city hopes to unload -- whereupon the discussion could focus on City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana's recommendation that the council consider closing or selling them.

Click here for the full story.

-- Mike Boehm


L.A. City Council decides against ending guaranteed funding for the arts

Photo: Olga Garay, executive director of L.A.'s Department of Cultural Affairs, at the Warner Grand Theatre. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (4)

Cultural Affairs in Los Angeles has shunned local artists and engaged in promoting artists from elsewhere.

Now that push has come to shove (so to speak) they get no love from the local communities they have shunned like bureaucratic art snobs for so long.

Government enforced version of "culture" is inappropriate anyway.

Hello Mr Boehm,

Thank you for your continued coverage of this story. It is worth noting that finding private partners for these centers is not the only solution on the table. At yesterday's City Hall hearing, on the fiscal challenges facing the Department of Cultural Affairs, both Councilman Reyes and LaBonge repeatedly expressed an interest in using tomorrow's Council Meeting as an opportunity to examine the legality of funneling approximately 3.5% from the 1% Public Arts Redevelopment Tax Fund, or other funds, to the endangered Art Centers.

Thanks again - Mario Davila

I agree with Dian.

The Watts Towers must be saved as one of the great national art treasures, long ignored by the very art community that should be relishing and saving it. The Getty is the natural caretaker, extraordinarily rich, all over the world saving others works of cultural importance, yet ignoring the very one in its back yard that has worldwide significance.

Time to stop thinking of ones own grandiose plans, and learn to be truly creative, and that means improvising, taking a situation and creating on the fly. This is it. I have written them,the city, MoLAA, LACMA and the Catholic church about how to save it. Hell, do something else, I dont care. But get off your asses and JUST DO IT! Nike calls, and I don't mean the shoes, but Athena's role as mistress of wisdom, get to work!

Save the Watts Towers, Tear down the Ivories.


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