Proposed budgets for Los Angeles County and the city of Los Angeles for the coming fiscal year show their arts and cultural operations heading slowly in different directions.
Spending by the county's Arts Commission would increase 2.3%, to $9.2 million under the 2007-08 budget submitted last week by David E. Janssen, the county's chief administrative officer; of that, $4.5 million would be for grants, equaling this year's total.
On the city side, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's call for widespread belt-tightening to reduce deficits would hit the Cultural Affairs Department with a half-percent budget reduction, for a total of $9.9 million. City arts grants would remain stable at $2.8 million. Staffing would grow from 73 to 80, as the department opens a new facility, the Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center in Watts, and attempts to perform several other duties in-house instead of contracting them out or using temporary workers.
The county also helps fund three of L.A.'s biggest cultural institutions: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art would get $20.6 million from taxpayers, up 1.8%; the Music Center, $19.3 million, up 4.7%; and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County would sustain a 1.3% decrease to $13.1 million. The county would, however, pay an additional $3.6 million to renovate electrical systems and freight elevators and improve wheelchair access at the Natural History Museum.
-- Mike Boehm