Released today, Mayor Vince Gray‘s proposed 2014 budget cuts the District’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities budget by more than 40 percent. But it’s not exactly a death blow: That decrease comes mostly from the loss of last year’s one-time $6.8 million boost to the commission’s budget, which more than doubled its funding in FY 2013.
Without that extra $6.8 million padding, DCCAH’s gross proposed budget sunk from $11.9 million in FY 2013 to $7 million in FY 2014. But if you compare it to previous years, this year’s budget represents about a 28 percent increase from 2012’s budget and a 19 percent increase from 2011. (Though, in the grand scheme of things, $7 million is pretty weak. From 2007 to 2009, DCCAH’s budget ranged from $10.7 million to $14.5 million.)
Wondering how the commission used that $6.8 million gift from the D.C. Council? It was split up across several different grants and programs, including one called the Arts Stabilization Grant, worth $2.5 million. Just last week, DCCAH announced how the Arts Stabilization Grant money was used: It went to numerous established arts organizations, all of them D.C.-based nonprofits “whose sole function is to exhibit, present, and professionally train in the arts and humanities that have operated in Washington for at least seven years,” according to the commission’s announcement. Here’s the list of recipients. It’s basically a list of the city’s best-known arts organizations, including the Kennedy Center, the Washington Performing Arts Society, and Shakespeare Theatre Company. The grants are intended to support general operations.
If you look closely at the 2014 budget, you’ll also notice a little provision for Lincoln Theatre: It received $500,000 in funding and one full-time equivalent position. DCCAH spokesperson Marquis Perkins tells me a new operator for the theater will be announced “soon.”
Correction: The original version of this post referred to inaccurate numbers from the mayor’s 2014 budget. The D.C. Arts Commission didn’t get the $14.4 million that appears in the 2014 budget proposal; it actually got $11.9 million, not counting a $2.5 million federal grant that did not come through. As we previously reported, DCCAH received $11.9 million in FY 2013.