Monday, September 30, 2019

What is going on at the DC Arts and Humanities Commission?

From the DC Cultural Forum:
Over the past few months, the Commission has been unfairly used as a political pawn by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser. Here are the highlights (as listed from WAMU's most recent article):
  • Last fall, Mayor Bowser illegally appointed a director of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities who slipped in an amendment to the grant agreement that recipients had to sign to receive funds. It would have banned “lewd, lascivious, vulgar, [or] overtly political” works, but it was scrapped within a week due to a backlash from the arts community.
  • In April, the city introduced its long-awaited Cultural Plan, an inter-agency effort that laid out ways the city would support DC’s cultural economy. Some artists and cultural leaders said the document lacked a clear rollout plan and overemphasized loans over grants.
  • Before yet another illegally appointed director resigned, she hired a number of senior positions with six-figure salaries, as the Washington City Paper reported.
  • Late last month, Bowser introduced a new Creative Affairs Office to serve as an intermediary between the executive office and the Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
  • At the same time, Bowser announced the return of the Mayor’s Arts Awards, which had previously been cancelled this year. In the past, the Arts Commission oversaw the awards and a panel would select the winners, but the program will now be under the purview of the Creative Affairs Office.
  • In early September, the City Paper reported that Bowser’s office locked Arts Commission staff out of the agency’s vault of public art.

It's time for our community to speak up.

Here are things you can do right now to take direct action, with just one click: HERE