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Garden Grove Arts Panel to Suggest ‘Glory’ Tax

Times Staff Writer

A Garden Grove panel studying the arts will soon recommend a number of fund-raising proposals, including the possibility of taxing the Crystal Cathedral’s annual “Glory of Christmas” and “Glory of Easter” extravaganzas to support smaller presentations, a panel member said.

Other recommendations prepared by the 15-member Blue Ribbon Committee on the Arts, appointed by the Garden Grove City Council last summer, include:

- Asking voters to increase the tax on hotel and motel rooms by 1.5%, which would raise about $200,000 annually for the arts.

- Negotiating a joint-use agreement with the Garden Grove Unified School District for the 1,500-seat Don Wash Auditorium. The agreement would call for the city to spend $225,000 for air conditioning and a face lift and would permit use of the facility by various performing arts groups.

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- Establishing a body to disburse arts funds appropriated by the City Council, thus “depoliticizing” the process.

- Exploring the possibility of funding a 500-seat theater in Village Green Park, in addition to the 550-seat Festival Amphitheatre and the restored, 172-seat Gem Theater.

- Changing the city’s motto to “city of arts and festivals” from “city of youth and ambition.”

Neither of the Crystal Cathedral’s “Glorys” is named in the report, the commission member said, but it suggests studying the possibility of a tax on live entertainment in venues of more than 500 seats put on by profit-making organizations. The only performances that fit that category, and the ones members had in mind, the committee member said, are the “Glorys.”

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However, a spokeswoman for Glory Productions said the pageants are considered nonprofit, religious programs that provide funds to operate the ministry.

The two pageants, each with more than 100 volunteer performers, feature angels suspended from the ceiling of the 3,000-seat cathedral and live animals. Every year, they attract visitors from around the country for the month preceding each holiday. More than 120,000 tickets were sold, at $14 to $25, for the 1988 version of “The Glory of Christmas.”

The committee’s recommendations are expected to be presented to the City Council in early February. Twice in the past 12 months, municipal funding for the Grove Theatre Company and the Garden Grove Symphony became a source of controversy when several council members opposed subsidies for the two groups.


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