Friday, September 11, 2009

David Lawrence Of Arts Council Continues to Mislead Council

At the Parks Committee meeting on Wednesday, the Arts Council again misled councilors into approving the organization's continued abuse of the taxpayers.

The Arts Council is a non-profit corporation that was set up for the City to funnel arts money through. During his presentation, President and CEO of the Arts Council David Lawrence continued to spread the lie that his organization has very limited "administrative expenses" - only $368,000 he claimed.

Pure nonsense. According to the Arts Council's 2007 tax return, administrative costs for the Arts Council are nearly 57% of what the Arts Council takes in. Administrative expenses on the return total $2,784,836. This includes $1,038,608 spent on salaries and benefits for their 19 employees. The former President of the Arts Council, Greg Charleston alone pulled down $170,391 in compensation. The Arts Council, which is constantly claiming poverty, reported nearly $10 million in accumulated assets on its 2007 return, money those starving artists are not seeing.

What Lawrence has done is take the taxpayer money from the Parks and estimated administrative costs just for that pile of money. It is an extremely disingenuous approach. If someone hands you money that is restricted, that simply frees up unrestricted money to be spent on things like salaries and benefits of Arts Council officers and employees. No additional money is spent on the worthwhile project for which the restricted money is intended.

During Lawrence's testimony he also indicated that the Arts Council does not make the decision regarding what artists get the grant money funnelled through the Arts Council. Rather Lawrence indicated that, in order to avoid things like conflicts of interest, that decision is farmed out to national arts group or groups. Undoubtedly one of them he was talking about is Americans for the Arts, whose President and CEO, Robert Lynch was reported making $654,848 on its 2007 tax return. Six other officers of Americans for the Arts are reported as making $145,653 or more. Americans for the Arts has $160 million stashed away in accumulated assets. Some of that money undoubtedly includes tax dollars from Indianapolis.

If the Arts Council is not making grant decisions but simply ratifying what groups like the Americans for the Arts decides, why does the Arts Council exist at all?

As I have said before, countless times, non-profit groups like the Arts Council and Americans for the Arts exist not to promote artists, but to promote themselves. They pay their executives and top employees lavish salaries, using taxpayer money extracted from elected officials by guilting them that the money is needed for the poor, starving artists. It is nothing more than a con game that victimizes taxpayers and artists alike.

See also:

Thursday, July 30, 2009, David Hoppe of NUVO Criticizes Arts Bureaucracy

Sunday, July 5, 2009, Arts Council of Indianapolis Misleads Parks and Recreation Committee Regarding Its Administrative Expenses

Saturday, June 27, 2009, Americans for the Arts Exposed

Saturday, June 27, 2009, Nuvo's David Hoppe Warns of "Arts Crisis"; Promotes More of Our Tax Dollars Going to Wasteful Indianapolis Arts Council

Wednesday, June 10, 2009, Playing the Starving Artist Role to Grab Our Tax Dollars; The Real Financial Story Behind the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Inc.

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