Local performing arts groups will have to make do without some
much-needed funding in the coming year. Community Services, Park and
Recreation officials on Thursday announced plans to withdraw $77,000
in grant funding scheduled to be disbursed Jan. 1, citing $1.3
million in budget cuts for their decision.
The city did, however, award about $39,000 to 14 local
organizations -- including $10,000 to the Burbank Philharmonic -- to
complete the 2003 grant cycle, said Garth Nelson, deputy director of
Councilman Jef Vander Borght said any time there is a cut in
community services funding, it affects the future of community
"[If you’re] faced with arts or safety services, you’re pretty
much left with little choice but to go for the basics,” Vander Borght
said of the council’s decision in June to suspend performing-arts
Although it was a difficult choice to make, Vander Borght said the
council voted unanimously to cut funding.
Tom Ormeny, who with his wife, Maria Gobetti, is artistic
co-director of Victory Theatre on West Victory Boulevard, said his
organization, as well as other local performing arts organizations,
have grown dependent on city grants.
“We are devastated,” Ormeny said. “It was a lifeline. We depend on
city funding to sustain our activities.”
Victory Theatre has been funded by the city for eight years,
“We received up to $10,000, she said. “This will be a significant
loss for us. It will probably mean that we won’t do one show.”
The theater has offered four to eight productions a year, and has
conducted 20 to 30 acting and writing workshops annually.
The Media City Ballet Company received the minimum grant award
last year, ballet company president Cindy Pease said.
“If those funds are not subsidized elsewhere, we have to cut back
on the number of productions that we do, and the number of school
outreach performances we do,” Pease said. “It also reduces the number
of seats we’re able to give out to lower-income students, who
normally could not afford to see a fine arts performance.”