Monday, January 30, 2017

Whither should the Arts Commission go?

Update: Dead (#1)

State Senator Lydia Chassaniol filed a bill that will place the Mississippi Arts Commission under the control of the Mississippi Development Authority.  To say this bill stirred up a hornet's nest is an understatement.  Social media has been afire with outrage as the arts community did not like this bill one bit.  Marshall Ramsey captured the zeitgeist in this cartoon:





It is a 22-page bill but here is the relevant section:

SECTION 1. Section 39-11-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

39-11-1. * * * From and after July 1, 2017, all duties, responsibilities, authority, power, assets, liabilities, contractual rights and obligations and property rights of the Mississippi Arts Commission are transferred to the Mississippi Development Authority. All employees of the Mississippi Arts Commission holding positions on July 1, 2017, shall be employees of the Mississippi Development Authority.

SECTION 2. Section 39-11-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

39-11-3. * * * There is created and established the Mississippi Arts Advisory Council, to consist of fifteen (15) members broadly representative of all fields of the performing, visual, literary arts, and the business community, and who are to be appointed by the Governor from among citizens of the state who have demonstrated a vital interest in the performing, visual, or literary arts. Members shall serve a term concurrent with that of the Governor. The members shall also be representative of the different geographical areas of the state. All vacancies shall be filled for the balance of the unexpired term in the same manner as original appointments. The members of the * * * council shall not receive any compensation for their services but shall be reimbursed for actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as members of the * * * council. The * * * council will annually elect its chairman and other officers. The council shall meet at the call of the Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority. The council shall advise the Mississippi Development Authority regarding its duties under this chapter.

Board members are currently appointed by the Governor.   The bill was assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Read the bill and track its progress. 

Should the Arts Commission move to MDA? What do you think?  

72 comments:

Anonymous said...

Merely transferring the piggy bank, expense account and grant funding ability to an existing state agency. For too long the elitists have controlled the piggy bank while answerable to nobody but a few others in tuxedos. This is a good business decision for the state.

Can't blame Feel, Tater, Haley or Chris for this one. Take a seat Mr. White.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 9:31. I google-stalked everyone who got an art grant last year - couldn't find a single one who wasn't a leftist and many had direct connections to Malcolm White. Before someone says something bigoted like all artists are leftist, I'm a conservative and a writer so you can go watch Finding Dory for all I care.

Anonymous said...

All these art people keep hollering "keep politics out of the arts". Why not quit trying to put art into politics. I am tired of so called "artists" trying to degrade my freedom of speech and calling me a degenerate because of my political beliefs. These so called artists are supposed to be tolerant to a fault, but show themselves to be hypocrites to a fault. Your views are only right if you agree with them. As far as the State budget is concerned, if you can't afford a Cadillac, don't buy one. We can't afford to have agencies in this state that overlap each other and waste money and resources. The so called "arts" can survive under another agency just as well. I for one am tired of seeing a statue of Jesus in a glass of urine described as "art".

Anonymous said...

This is much ado about nothing. The Governor controls this board now via board appointments. What will actually change?

Anonymous said...

This seems like a personal vendetta against the current director. No one has made a compelling case as to how this would increase efficiency or save money. The two agencies are already in the same building. The grants process at MAC is very professional, with outside grant panels making the decisions. This independence could be compromised with this bill. To call their grant recipients "leftists" is laughable.

Anonymous said...

10:20 - I'd wager your writing is fool's gold at best. "Before someone says something bigoted like all artists are leftist, I'm a conservative and a writer so you can go watch Finding Dory for all I care." You need a comma before "so."

Also, you projecting your own bigotry. Funny how "Before someone says something bigoted like all artists are leftist" follows "couldn't find a single one who wasn't a leftist and many had direct connections to Malcolm White."

What's the matter? Did you get too drunk one night at Hal and Mal's? Did White cut you off? Was it the same day you received your rejection letter concerning your "great book."

I'm a moderate, and this is a bad bill that will fund propaganda and the ugly. I guess I can see why you are for it.



Anonymous said...

10:20. Yeah, the MS Symphony received a grant and they are so liberal that they started their concert season this year by playing the Star Spangled Banner and having the audience join in.

10:31. Your name calling of those whose opinion differ from yours is the exact problem which you are bringing up. Why can't people have different opinions AND be respectful of other's opinion? I completely agree with your comment about Jesus in the glass..

Go ahead--flame away at me.

Pappy Odaniel said...

Artists have always survived based upon the support of their patrons. Why should a dirt poor state be expected to support the arts? Can your average worker in this state afford to go to the symphony or buy a $3500 bottle tree? Hell no, so why should their taxes go to subsidize it.

Anonymous said...

If the arts do not have enough people who want to contribute to them why would they think the people want their tax money to go to it?
Go back to being starving artists. We do not have the money to waste.

Anonymous said...

11:08 Instead of resorting to insults why don't you just find a person from the grant list who isn't a leftist?? We all know leftists would NEVER discriminate based on political opinions right?? This should be easy to do if 10:20 is as ignorant as you are implying. Organizations don't count, sorry.

Anonymous said...

Another thing for MDA to screw up. I know people who work there and it's a clown show from top to bottom.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 11:44. That's why they're listed in the program as PATRONS... with various labels of big poo-poo, little poo-poo, etc.

Anonymous said...

Is there a problem with how it's done currently?

What?

Burke said...

Well, the muggles are out in force today. Some of the worst muggles I've seen in a while. Ironically, I agree, too, that Mapplethorpe's depiction of Jesus in a UA cup (urine analysis) was unworthy of the title of art work, but how much does it tell us of the ignorance of 10:31 that he/she is "tired" of hearing about it? That episode occurred at least 30 years ago. Is it still in the daily news reports? "Thousands of taxpayers still outraged over Piss Jesus!!"

I'm outraged that the Governor wants to politicize the efforts of artists who have chosen to devote themselves to helping others to nourish their imaginations. Please remember that imagination is the basis of morality, if morality is based upon one's ability to imagine himself in the shoes of another person. Most attempts at good art fail, as do most attempts at good fighter planes, ad infinitum. But there has to be the freedom to attempt much, in art as well as any other kind of human endeavor.

Come on, folks. Lighten up. Try to imagine that the world would be a godawful place if everybody was just like you, or me for that matter. And really, don't most of you muggles spend half your time complaining about government being too involved in your daily lives? Pharisees and hypocrites, to think that government should not regulate small business, but that it should definitely regulate art.

PittPanther said...

Piss Christ was released 30 years ago. And you guys are still talking about it. I think that's a testament to the power of art.

Anonymous said...

11:08 --

Your first paragraph: "I'm a conservative..."

Your last paragraph: "I'm a moderate..."

Can we just agree that the only funding mechanism for "art" should be the private sector?

Anonymous said...

Here is a list of 2016 grant recipients by county. Artists are getting tax dollars to update their websites and for "promotional materials." The Mississippi Chorus received $20,000. I didn't know there was a Mississippi Chorus. An amateur theater in Port Gibson received $4500 to stage The Music Man. The Meridian Symphony received $35,000. Who knew there was a symphony in Meridian. Take a moment and review the list. It's enlightening.

2016 Grant Recipients

Anonymous said...

Why mess with the one thing that Mississippi got right? Leave the arts alone. Go after consolidating agencies that are doing the same thing and overstaffed with political hires.

Anonymous said...

12:48 - Isn't it though?? Isn't it extremely interesting how Malcolm White has chosen to spend taxpayer dollars at a time when we have been cutting our schools (including our special schools like MSMS and MSA) down to the bone?? Oh well I am just a stupid muggle, what do I know! I am not an enlightened leftist "wizard" who can just work my magic on inconvenient truths and make them DISAPPEAR!

Anonymous said...

After seeing how the money is spent , the whole program should be shut down.

Anonymous said...

1:05 -

Leave the arts alone.

I agree. Let's leave artists alone, to fend for themselves without taxpayer funds.

We can agree on that, right?

Anonymous said...

Lots of people around Meridian know about the MSO. I look forward to their crawfish boil fundraiser every year!

Anonymous said...

Don't move it to MDA - shut down the whole thing. It's a waste of tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone who doesn't want to live under a Theocracy or disagrees with a conservative automatically a leftist or liberal or whatever other buzzword these people parrot around it's like you all think with the same brain, follow the same orders, parrot the same talking points ad-nauseam site to site.

Anonymous said...

Pitt,
The only reason that that reprehensible piece of "art" is still talked about has nothing to do with art. It's talked about because it was controversial "art". It's the controversy, stupid. Not the "art".
Put that on your bullwhip, and stick it.

Anonymous said...

12:48. I reviewed the grant recipients. Glaringly absent were the Cultural Attractions creators from Ridgeland and Pearl---The Renaissance and Outlets of Mississippi. Each time I visit them I come away much more culturally enriched. Thanks Pheel, Tater, Billy Yates and Andrew Mattiace and an special thanks to the taxpayers of Mississippi!

Anonymous said...

Consolidate the hell out of it. Put the money into our schools.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to 12:48 for publishing the grant recipient list. A few of my favorites (and yes I'm in sarcasm mode):

1. $4500 to the International Museum of Muslim Culture
2. $20,000 to the Hundred Members Debating Benevolent Association
3. $4500 to local musician Eddie Cotton Jr.
4. $500 to Scott Albert Johnson for promotional materials
5. $4500 to the Mississippi Academy of Ancient Music
6. $20,000 to the Mississippi Boy's Choir
7. $20,000 to the Mississippi Girl's Choir
8. $4500 to Ole Miss professor and poet Beth Ann Fennelly
9. $15,000 to the Tupelo Ballet
10. $492 for John Zheng to attend the American Haiku Conference
11. $4500 to the American Guild of Organists

Someone explain to me why my tax dollars should fund these and similar grants.

PittPanther said...

12:48, because you choose to publicly show your ignorance concerning arts organizations in Mississippi, that somehow means those groups are not deserving of funding?

Anonymous said...

12:46 - There were plenty of things of errors to pounce on me for in that reply: the missing 're and ? among them. But there was no contradiction. "I'm a conservative" was a quote from Mississippi's next Bill Faulkner at 10:20. I'm am a moderate.

But, no, I don't believe that art should just be funded by just the private sector. If that were so we would not have the Sistine Chapel or much of the great Renaissance art. I bet you Chicago is still happy they paid Picasso to sculpt the work that still attracts thousands every year to its great plaza. If you really want to educate yourself, watch the excellent documentary about Maya Lin and the reaction Vietnam Veterans Memorial got not only from the soldiers, but their families, and Americans from all backgrounds, ages, and political spheres.


Anonymous said...

1:39 I don't know. Must be the same reason why everyone who disagrees with a leftist is a "racist fascist xenophobe."

Anonymous said...

In my opinion damn near everybody that has commented here has shown their off-the-wall idiocy.

There is a place for arts in the state, and for some state support for them. But there is also a place for some oversight on any state spending, even for the arts.

Moving this commission to an agency is not doing away with the agency. Has anybody that is fighting against this reorganization looked to see if it affects its programs, or just its administration? Does the money for its grants programs still exist when it is moved? If so, why is the move considered to be killing the agency? Nobody that is fighting this change has addressed that, just claimed that the move with kill support for the arts by the state.

They also claim that moving the program will politicize the program. That putting it in an agency that has elected oversight will turn the granting of the state money into a political process. That raises two series of questions: Do those that are fighting this, including Malcolm White, feel that while he was an appointee of the Governor as head of Tourism, was he nothing but a political hack? Did he make all those tourism grants on a political basis, rather than by what the program guidelines dictated? Did Malcolm not have any expertise, or conscience, or management ability while he was a director of the agency where they are proposing to move this agency? Second: The current MAC members are all politically appointed individuals. Does the fact that the Commission - the individuals responsible for running this program - come by way of a political appointment relieve this agency from being politicized? What is the difference?

The idea of consolidation of agencies, boards, commissions, etc is not a bad idea. Reduction of overhead costs, administrative costs, along with oversight on the overall budget expenditures is not a bad thing. UNLESS, of course, you are the ones having oversight over your actions.

Quit crying the big crock tears over the arts will no longer be getting support. When you show the budget cuts to the programs you can come on and make your case then. But just because someone will be looking over your shoulder and having some input into the expenditure of these tax dollars is not a reason to bitch.

Anonymous said...

Let's begin by cutting taxpayer dollars at beef plants, car plants, tire plants, shipping ports, shopping malls. can't the private sector get along without government welfare? apparently we need something in that space 'arts-related' at the shiny shopping mall in pearl to call it cultural and to get tax credits..

Anonymous said...

1:39- You are the reason I despise liberals like yourself. What is this parrot. parrot, parrot comment? You don't parrot, follow the same orders, follow the same talking points as-nauseam?
Give us poor disadvantaged, stupid, ugly, unwashed ignorant conservatives a break and go protest something using vile sexual comments like you did last week.
Look and tell me how many Democrat's are on Mt. Rushmore.

Anonymous said...

One grant for an individual to attend the National Festival of Puppeteers. Three words: Go Fund Me.

Anonymous said...

I'm not real sure why Ms. Chassaniol thinks she should be the one introducing legislation on this. Maybe her involvement in the Rotary Club or the NRA has given her the knowledge to make her an expert on the subject. Or maybe she's just pissed that Attala County didn't receive any grants. Another joke of a Senator who is out of touch with the people of Mississippi. Go home lady, you're drunk and stupid!

Anonymous said...

1:29 - "We can agree on that, right?"
No, I doubt we'd agree on much of anything.


Anonymous said...

If the state had money to waste then giving some to the arts would be a good idea. The problem we do not have money to waste. Our roads are about in the same condition as they were in the horse and buggy days. Schools are graduating people who cannot fill out a job application much less handle a job.

Politicians can do one of two things. Let the state go to hell and keep on financing things their family and friends want to spend money on or spend the tax money on what it is supposed to be spent on. We all know which one they will pick.

Anonymous said...

2:47 is what's up. Sincerely, 10:20. PEACE!

HEE-HAW said...

Quite a few of the recipients received $500 each to purchase art materials. To be fair, they should give monies to musician wannabes for harmonicas, banjo strings and accordion bellows. Well... dang, they did give $11900.00 for: a picnic $4500, harmonica workshop $3700, and guitar workshop $3700, all to the same person in Holly Springs.

Anonymous said...

why doesn't the state have enough money to pay its bills? can't we just dial up "daddy trump" and beg for more federal dollars? we're already the biggest welfare state..

what's the budget of the arts commission? 3 million? we are arguing over crumbs..

Pappy Odaniel said...

@2:47 You sir, are the quintessential problem in this state that is obsessed with elected officials, commissions, agencies, directors and all of the architecture of guvment. You are right in the diagnosis that this issue doesn't amount to a hill of beans but somehow the problem isn't that we're pissing away money on Haiku festivals and private school spring plays. This is Mississippi. We have falling apart schools, roads that are more pothole than road and people living like they are in a third world country...but oh, there's plenty of money.

Anonymous said...

5:56, one thing that you will find out about people who do have money is that they will argue about wasting the crumbs. Only those who do not have any money do not worry about the $3 million crumbs.

Anonymous said...

What is Lydia getting out of this? There must be more to the story.

Anonymous said...

Look at the grants list provided above. That alone is reason enough to put this commission under state oversight. For too long we have pissed away all this money on Big Foobah and Little Foobah and Major Donor and Minor Donor and who rides on which float at the Green Parade and who appears most often in the Northeast Jackson Rag Mags. Enough of this bullshit. This is not Los Angeles..........

Urness Tea Bass said...

Death to the Rosie ODonnell and Meryl Streep crowd. Let them eat cake.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that there is no requirement for this to save money or provide more effective management of the program. what happened here is that ol' Malcolm done pissed off one of the cowboys. The only question is which one. Methinks he pissed off Tater.

anon said...

Interesting to see what the Gov and others are doing...expect Mississippi ETV and PRM to be next. The Gov wants to eliminate funding for this agency.
Anon.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected. Apparently, Deputy Phil is upset because he doesn't get to choose the winners of the annual Governor's Arts Awards. You go Deputy Phil. We will be off the bottom in no time with your laser focus on our state's real problems. This change will improve our education system, healthcare system, and other systems where we are mired in 50th (or lower) place.

Pappy Odaniel said...

Final thought: We are not the De Medici's spreading our patronage of the enlightenment...we're spending money on total crap that if it wasn't crap people would buy...and throwing money at rich jackasses' wives' pet projects to keep them busy with sumpthin and private, Catholic schools' spring plays. Is the Pope broke?

Anonymous said...

No reason taxpayers should be on the hook for any $$$ to fund the leftist shit coming out of ETV and PRM.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the temper tantrum and it will backfire, big time. Most Mississippians don't give a damn about this kind of stuff and the only reason they've funded it until now is because... they didn't know they were funding it.

You want to go a haiku festival or harmonica lessons, pay for it yourself or find willing donors.

Taxing the poorest citizens in the union to subsidize your little pet projects while critical services and infrastructure are in shambles? It's wrong and it shouldn't be happening.

Wherefore Art Thou Clementine? said...

There's more drama in this thread than in the entire works of Shakespeare.

Anonymous said...

I think some of you didn't notice that the bill states that the " new" council will only meet at the discretion of the Director.

What you risk is that " art" , like in North Korea or Russia becomes a political tool for propaganda.

You also add another historical bellwether to the decline of a society.

The notion that all artists are " leftists" is laughable. If you had volunteered in the arts...the symphony, opera, IBC, or museums, you'd see a who's who of conservatives not just in those patronizing but among the actual artists.

FYI Winston Churchill was an artist.

Anonymous said...

@9:54 PM +100

Anonymous said...

3:38 and 6:32 are the same keyboarder wondering why Lydia and what Lydia has to gain? What difference does it make who introduced this bill? It makes perfect sense. A better question might be what does 6:32 stand to lose and why is 3:38 upset?

Anonymous said...

9:54 pm

Short sighted guy....but...you'd never see

Anonymous said...

Malcolm "13th step" White is a joke.

Anonymous said...

How is constantly referencing a bunch of highly successful artists that never received a dime of MAC funding supposed to be an effective defense of all the good MAC does? Faulkner and Elvis? Pretty sure they never cashed MAC grant checks.

Anonymous said...

7:58 am That's because MAC didn't exist. Bartering did exist. You could grow your own food. A person could survive on less cold hard cash.
Try to live in this century.
And, do try to study the role art plays in societies that prosper. Buy a socio-economics book. In a " golden age" , art flourishes. In a " dark age" , it doesn't. Tourists don't go to see ugly .
Got it?

Anonymous said...

PS If there'd been a school of the arts in MS, Elvis would have gotten a scholarship, wouldn't have been at the mercy of The Colonel and would likely still be with us!

Anonymous said...

Mt Rushmore? Are you kidding me?
None of those gentleman would recognize the political parties today!
The conservationist, nature loving President, the Emancipation Proclamation President are rolling in their graves. And, George Washington, the bridge between all factions certainly wouldn't! Jefferson , the consummate diplomat to France and writer of the Declaration of Independence would be appalled as well.
Do you have a clue how Mt. Rushmore got built? Federal funds under a Republican administration by a bill sponsored by a Republican financed it. It was 1941 when the funds ran out.
Could it be that Democrats that replaced the Republican administrations that funded Mt Rushmore didn't have the money, power or the inclination to build monuments to themselves!

Anonymous said...

6:10, was the people's tax money used to support Churchill's hobby?

Anonymous said...

The Arts can be big business. Huge. If anything, we are underfunding them.

http://www.confluence-denver.com/features/cbca_report_101916.aspx

Anonymous said...

"The Arts" are already being used as propaganda to sell a version of the State to the rest of the Nation that no longer exists if it ever did.

So, there's that. The only time I've ever made an effort to even see the MSO besides Pepsi Pops was to see the production of "Rhapsody in Blue". That was a while back. They had to bring a piano player from Russia to play the piece (I think).

There is more to the whole of music than Elvis, BB King, and Corporatized Country music.

Anonymous said...

Every field-of-dreams in Jackson is spun as "big business" but 9 times out of 10 the business arrives at barely a trickle.

Anonymous said...

7:01, want to explain your o-pinion? Jealous?
Malcolm White is a great representative for Mississippi. Wish he'd run for office...but he's too smart for that.

Anonymous said...

12:23. MSO brings in artists from around the world to play solos. The piano professors at MC, Belhaven, Millsaps, JSU could have done it--but it sells more tickets to bring in someone from other than here.

I encourage you to go and see something other than 'popular' music--you will be stunned to see people in their 20's and 30's at the symphony and other events. And a lot of events at MC, Belhaven, Millsaps, JSU are completely free. Take advantage of what we have.

Anonymous said...

Too smart to run because he knows he'd lose.

Anonymous said...

"You also add another historical bellwether to the decline of a society."

Look, Luther...we've already addressed the preponderance of drama in this thread.

Anonymous said...



"Consolidate the hell out of it. Put the money into our schools."
January 30, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Personally (and I have an "art degree"), I'm for abolishing government support for the arts.

But if you think that pishing-away MORE money on "our" schools, will result in higher scholastic achievement, then you're an idiot. The money will be wasted (as money is already being wasted), if it's poured into Mississippi's corrupt and sports-crazy public schools.

Rebuilding the state's perilously-decrepit bridges, upgrading major highways to interstate standards, and repairing roads, would be a far better use of money. Currently, the state is CRIPPLED by roads which are impediments to commerce.

Another GREAT use for "the money" (the nonexistent money, considering we're broke) would be increasing the number of Highway Patrol officers (and increasing their salaries).

These days, anyone with a smart phone (which, apparently, is EVERYBODY) has, at their disposal, the means for educating themselves. Beyond basic literacy and numeracy, most people can learn as much as they're capable of learning - using just the screens on the phones they can't seem to put down. I see NO reason for enhanced, publicly-supported programs in public schools, when unlimited enhanced learning is so easily available to anyone with a cell phone and a desire to learn.



Anonymous said...

I'm against pishing away government money too!

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