We learned this weekend the stimulus package will actually help the arts too, at least a little bit. While funding for arts in schools has been axed (what else is new?), the package includes $50 million for the National Endowment of the Arts, a not insignifcant amount since the total budget for the NEA is only $145 million. What does that mean for THEATREWORKS? Possibly nothing ---but possibly a good deal. It might well have an effect on our summer Shakespeare tour, which has been regularly sponsored in part by funding from the Colorado Council on the Arts. We also have pending a large NEA grant application to colloborate with Ping Chong and company to create a theatre event focused on and around the disability community of Colorado Springs. We can't say with any confidence this grant will be awarded, but we like our chances better when funding is at least available.
Arts funding in the stimulus package narrowly escaped an amendment proposed by Senator Tom Coburn (R Oklahama), who proposed excluding any funding for the arts as wasteful and unneccessary. Senator Coburn linked the arts with casinos, golf courses and swimming pools as inappropriate benefactors of goverment funding. We confess we are glad his amendment was defeated. But out of respect for the Senator, we are creating a weekend Coburn Amendment Tour next season. Tour participants will first see our Friday night production of Undesirable Elements, a world premiere of Ping Chong's production featuring stories told by disabled members of our community. On Saturday morning, they''ll play nine holes on a federally sponsored golf course before being shuttled down to Trinidad or some other Colorado community to see our free Shakespeare performances. From there, they'll be whisked to a government sponsored casino to spend the night in communal celebration. After a Sunday breakfast with the Senator (who will will certainly be invited) or a sympathizer, and a refreshing pkunge in a federally sponsored swimming pool, our guests will be sent home with first hand experience of all these potentially wasteful government giveaways. We feel there will be a huge market for the Coburn tour, since these cultural events share such a profound natural afflnity. Tour prices start at $36,000 per person, which includes a $35K contribution to THEATREWORKS. Just one tour member will more than offset theyear's deficit created by our diminished endowment's returns. Interested parties should contact our executive director or just comment on this blog. The rest of you can read the rest of the story here.