The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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The Kennedy Center: Come Here For All Your Neighborhood Fixins’

That’s how it is being categorized in the D.C. budget.

According to this morning’s Washington Post, the Kennedy Center will be receiving assistance from the Neighborhood Investment Fund, set up to distribute money to groups that will “improve the city’s neglected neighborhoods.”

Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert is supposed to gather community input before doling out the cash—-but that’s apparently not happening, some D.C. Council members says.

So here’s what we’re looking at:

Under the proposed budget, only $5.4 million of the $17 million will be set aside for neighborhood groups. About $1.6 million will be transferred to the Commission on Arts and Humanities and distributed through grants of mostly $250,000 to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Washington National Opera, the D.C. Jewish Community Center and other groups, all based in Northwest.

Some councilmembers—-well, Jack Evans—-are defending the decision ‘cuz, um, D.C. school kids visit the Kennedy Center a lot, and they live in under-supported D.C. neighborhoods! Makes sense.

Come on. This is so lame.  It sets a precedent for fixing troubled neighborhoods by giving money to glistening performance centers in the city’s least troubled areas. Maybe we should just distribute money set aside for arts programs and institutions to neighborhood-based non-profits.

Image by Laura Padgett, Flickr Creative Commons