By Bob Hicks
Over at Oregon Live, Friend of Scatter D.K. Row reports that Oregon’s two major gubernatorial candidates, Demo John Kitzhaber and the GOP’s Chris Dudley, have pretty much nothing to say about how they would or wouldn’t approach statewide funding and other support for the arts. Both ducked a request by the statewide lobbying group Cultural Advocacy Coalition to talk it out in a town hall meeting before the election. And both ducked the chance to comment to D.K. for his story.
No surprise here. With the state budget circling the toilet bowl and getting ready for the big flush, neither candidate is likely to come out promising anything to anyone about arts and culture. Remember last year, when the Democrat-dominated legislature raided the state’s supposedly sacrosanct Cultural Trust fund in an attempt to pay the bills.
Portland city commish Nick Fish, who’s also a board member of the Cultural Trust, called the candidates’ no-talk “a missed opportunity.” But even some arts leaders expressed sympathy for a pair of guys caught between a rock and a hard place. “When I think of the immense economic problems the next governor has to solve, my stomach hurts,” Chris Coleman told Row. “The notion of even advancing a cultural agenda would be hard right now. So I understand. If I was running for governor, it’d be hard for me to find time for the arts.” Coleman is artistic director of Portland Center Stage. He also happens to be board president of the Creative Advocacy Network, Portland’s coalition of arts boosters in the political ring.
Whoever wins the governor’s race, don’t be expecting a neo-WPA, folks. The feds are pretty much out of this picture, FDR’s kicked the bucket, and we already got our Timberline Lodge. Arts and culture will be looking at a lot of pay-as-you-go. Oops. That’s sort of what the Cultural Trust was before the big raid, wasn’t it?
A lot of people set their annual calendars around this thing. Here at Art Scatter, it always sneaks up on us, and, too often, slips right past us. We tend to be traveling a lot this time of year, and preparing young heathens for schooling, and tending to such crucial matters as putting up the annual supplies of pickles and chutney.
All of which is to say that (like the guv guys on arts funding) we have pretty much nothing to say about TBA this year. Fortunately, several other keen observers do. Here are a few places to look for news and comment:
Arts Dispatch. Barry Johnson sees and extrapolates.
Oregon Live. Expect steady updates from The Oregonian’s cultural squad.
Culturephile. Anne Adams and Claudia La Rocco have been pickin’ em and writin’ em for Portland Monthly’s blog.
PHOTO: Timberline Lodge: the last word in Oregon cultural funding? Kelvin Kay/Wikimedia Commons