Mayoral candidates talk funding for arts, culture

As the city prepares for the upcoming mayoral election, various organizations are hosting forums to better understand each candidate's vision for the city. Tuesday night, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center hosted a forum to hear their stance on arts a

SAN ANTONIO - As the city prepares for the upcoming mayoral election, various organizations are hosting forums to better understand each candidate’s vision for the city.

Tuesday night, the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center hosted a forum to hear their stance on arts and culture.

The biggest concern on the table was how the candidates plan to increase funding for arts and culture in a city that prides itself on both.

Mayoral front runners Councilman Ron Nirenberg and Manuel Medina, Bexar County Democratic Chairman, were in attendance with four other candidates.

Although incumbent Mayor Ivy Taylor did not attend the forum, the city said nearly $11 Million was budgeted for the Department of Arts and culture in the fiscal year 2017.

Approximately $6.2 Million supports over 50 arts and culture non-profits throughout the city.

“One of the steps that we need to undertake to restore equity within arts organizations and the funding of arts organizations is to look at the weight that we apply to the size of the organization," Nirenberg said. "And begin to emphasize more community-based arts organizations.”

Meanwhile, Medina suggested the city needs a new manager to help solve some of the issues around arts funding.

The city manager that we have today has created a scenario that's created inequity across the board,” Medina said. “When some of our non-profits are paying $1,200 a month for rent, some $300 and then the Witte Museum paid $1 a year.”

Graciela Sanchez with the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center wants to see more community-based groups and artists receive funding.

“You can have lots of fixing up of potholes, but that doesn’t reach the heart and the mind and the soul and that's what the arts do for the city,” Sanchez said.

 

© 2017 KENS-TV


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