Update: On Wednesday, Sept. 21 the Dallas City Council voted to give ATTPAC their requested $15 million bailout.
While reading the headline As Local Artists Protest, ATTPAC Says the Need for a $15 Million Bailout From the City Is ‘Serious’ published on Monday, Sept. 12 at 4 a.m. by Alaena Hostetter, one can only think where did all that money go?
Clearly from the aforementioned words, Local Artists Protest … there has to be something afoot with the AT&T Performing Arts Center need for money.
According to article, Chris Heinbaugh, vice president of external affairs at ATTPAC said, “We realized we weren’t going to be able to fund-raise our way out of it and we weren’t going to be able to earn our way out of it.” The “it” being the $151 million loan from both Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase of which payments have been applied towards the interest. So they are calling on the City of Dallas to allocate $15 million of its general fund, which would be funneled through the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA), the entity that oversees allocations to the arts. The $15 million would be doled out in $1.5 million increments over the next decade.
But is this a good plan to use city cultural arts monies for the ATTPAC?
For starters, that $1.5 million per year is concerning when the ATTPAC CEO’s salary is $411,769 per year, the total executive salaries are $1,237,192, and according to the most recent public 990, ATTPAC finished with an operating deficit of $1,320,275. With those figures in mind, one must ask, “what is the bailout actually paying for?”
Then, there’s David Lazano, executive artistic director of Cara Mía Theatre Co., who believes that the bailout would greatly reduce the opportunities for minority communities to have the ability to learn and grow in the arts.
“We want to give the Dallas City Council an alternative to the $15 million bailout for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, and offer council the opportunity to transform every city district through the DALLAS CITYWIDE ARTS IMPACT PROJECT which will improve the quality of life, create enthusiasm for our communities, cultivate social and civic responsibility in our citizens, spark economic activity, and prepare young people for successful academic and professional careers through the arts and culture,” Lazano says through his petition on www.change.org.
Finally, and not insignificantly, the North Dallas Gazette is in full support of Lazano and the Dallas Citywide Arts Impact Project, because we too feel excluded from the intricate components of how Black artistry is promoted and discussed via the Black Press. We have worked tirelessly with the Dallas Theater Center and its executives Brad Pritchett and Alfred Butler to promote, for free, Black-centric productions that would have greatly benefitted our readers for theatrical experiences. We only ever received opportunities for ticket exchanges despite our best efforts to ensure the running of press releases, free advertising spots and performance attendances for reviews to generate community support.
What did we receive in return? Nothing but blatant disrespect and disregard when we sent correspondence via email, telephone, and U.S. Postal mail. We exhausted every opportunity to bridge a formidable and sizable gap that was steadily increasing among the Black Press and cultural artistry appropriation as it related to advertising monies and any necessary sponsorships.
We, as a minority publication that has supported every initiative placed by the DTC, do not take lightly being ignored by the decision-makers of DTC and do not appreciate being continuously overlooked for opportunities to grow our organization as a whole and communally-based.
North Dallas Gazette is in full support of the opposition of the $15 million dollar bailout and the ideals for the Dallas Citywide Arts Impact Project because of our longstanding and beneficial relationship with the City of Dallas. We know that Dallas is a proponent of its residents and for the full inclusion of information sent out to those who fully support the Black Press and other minority communities.
Our artful and talented youth and adults will be able to see themselves in our media outlets and forums and would definitely be able to share their stories and talents with the communities they come from. They would not be a voice of many, if at all, if the bailout is approved.
We know our communities, and we know they desire to be actively engaged in a vibrant arts community. That is why this bailout is a bad idea. This bailout continues to move away from the local artists who struggle to share their talents.
Say NO to the bailout and say YES to community arts and YES to supporting the Black Press.