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Sunday, July 21, 2013
I was pleased to see the photograph of Katherine Devine in the Horizon section of The Roanoke Times on June 23 and even more pleased to read her commentary headlined “Art’s not just a frill, it’s a profession.”
I met Devine in 2002 when I became the market manager of the Historic Roanoke City Market. Her commentary failed to mention the multitude of children who, over the years, would line up, patiently (for children), to have Devine paint their faces in East Market Square on Saturday mornings.
She is, and has been, an artist. Grandin Village is indeed fortunate to have her as an artist in residence. The Roanoke Valley has much to look forward to because of Devine.
I have not had the pleasure of meeting the other four people also photographed in the Horizon section, but I do know Transportation Museum director Beverly Fitzpatrick by name and position. Each of the four is actively involved with the arts and cultural community in the Roanoke area. I hope to meet them in the future, for I would like to thank them for their contributions to the section. Their commentaries expressed beautifully one of the headlines, “The arts are a vehicle to discovery and discussion of life.”
In Fitzpatrick’s well-written commentary, he acknowledged that it is difficult for municipal leaders to allocate those scarce revenue dollars. He presented a simple strategy to attract municipal support and suggested that when elected leaders refuse to fund arts organizations, they hurt the citizens who stand to benefit the most from full participation in a community’s cultural offerings.
He pointedly wrote that the doors to cultural offerings swing even wider when public dollars are part of the revenue stream. The strategy is simple: Do what people want and value. Provide a return on investment in both dollars and other benefits. Fight the false label of exclusivity.
Local municipalities and cultural organizations would be wise to consider Fitzpatrick’s suggestions.
Perhaps an even simpler solution would be for cultural organizations to release to the public and to municipalities a financial statement reflecting the organizations’ completely itemized income from all sources, and the organizations’ completely itemized expenses, including personnel and administration salaries.
Having been a member of both the Roanoke City Council and the leader of the very successful Virginia Museum of Transportation, Fitzpatrick is eminently well-qualified to set the standards for all organizations seeking municipal support. Municipalities could then know where and how to distribute their limited funds.
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