I happened to pick up the Arts section of the Chicago Tribune during a recent visit to that city and I was amazed at the number of arts organizations and events in the city compared to the Indianapolis area.
This made me very curious about how much the taxpayers of Chicago are contributing to the arts compared to Carmel. A search of the City of Chicago’s Web site indicates that the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events provides $1 million in grants annually.
That didn’t seem much compared to Carmel taxpayers’ funding of the operation for The Center of the Performing Arts and its grants to the arts groups which add up to about $3 million annually. That amount plus the bond payments on the building’s $175 million construction tab for the Palladium and other theatres amounts to a big chuck of change.
It makes you wonder if Chicago proportionately has more wealthy people than Carmel? Or are they just more benevolent? Maybe they have better attendance at the events, but even that would not make up for the much larger subsidies by Carmel taxpayers.
Attendance wise, numbers put out by the Center for The Performing Arts indicate that it is doing well.
A recent gift by Michael Evans, MD, of $48 million to Marian University’s new College of Osteopathic Medicine indicates that we do have benevolent people in Indianapolis.
More amazing than that, the Indianapolis Zoo recently collected more than than $25 million to build its new Orangutan Center. Orangutans have cute reddish hair but I know that couldn’t be the reason they raised so much money.
It might come as a surprise to you, but I do support the Arts by attending performances and making donations. I also think we have great facilities here in Carmel that can compete with venues in Chicago and other cities.
Carmel is the richest city in Indiana with a large number of extremely wealthy people, but only a small number have stepped up with major gifts to support our venues. Maybe Carmel just overspent, causing both the taxpayers and the local arts groups to bear the burden of what we have. The question is can the city continue to pay these subsidies?
My experience as a donor tells me that relationships are important in securing donations. However, relationships with potential big donors weren’t built during the vision and construction phases in Carmel. Despite that, it is time for the more fortunate to step up and donate to support the arts in our community with big gifts. You know who you are. I won’t embarrass you by mentioning your names. Please give back to your community because you can afford it.
It’s a good cause and it’s tax deductible.