Misguided reporting: Media undermining Houston arts interests

ABC13 and Wayne Dolcefino start a 4-day expose tonight at 10PM on public funding for the arts in Houston- suggesting that the funds would be better used elsewhere.

http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/channel?section=news/13_undercover&id=5755213

This is yellow journalism at its best. Not only is the trailer misleading- considering the bulk, if not all the funds come from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) and not property taxes- but it’s simply a travesty to be kicking the arts community while its down after an unmerciful hurricane and economic crisis. Please watch and share your comments- both on the ABC13 webpage and Houston Arts Alliance blog- http://www.haablog.com/. We cannot abide by this type of sensationalism- it’s misguided and the wrong message to send if we want Houston to be the well-respected member of the cultural arts community that it deserves to be.

 

Taken from the Houston Arts Alliance Blog (www.haablog.com):

Arts in Houston, a 626 Million Dollar Industry that Supports 30K Jobs

Did you know the arts are a $626.3 million industry in Houston? An industry that supports more than 30,000 full-time jobs and generates $69.5 million in local and state government revenues.

The arts industry in Houston generates the equivalent of almost four Superbowls ($165.5 million) and everyone gets to participate!

October 30, 2008 the Honorable Mayor Bill White spoke at Hyatt Regency Houston in downtown Houston with RENGEN Author Patricia Martin. The presentation, titled Houston 2.0 – Art, Energy and the Power of Culture, included the Mayor’s stats below.

Total Attendance of the 10 Largest Arts Organizations in 2007 = 7,383,740

Total Hotel Occupancy Tax funds directed to the Arts in2007 = 12.1M

These statistics are astonishing- and hopefully prove that the arts do their part to contribute to the vibrancy and economic health of our city.  We are very fortunate to have a mayor who champions our arts community, as well as our efforts to spread the word about the incredible, diverse, innovative, and growing arts community we have in our backyard.  However, the development of this community requires the support and investment of the public at large, local business interests, and last but not least- the media. 

Recently, media messages have created obstacles for the Houston arts community- case in point, media reports claimed that local arts groups were relatively unaffected by Ike, when weeks of productions, concerts, and exhibitions were closed, canceled, or postponed due to storm damage- leading to a great deal of lost revenue.  These types of messages undermine and downplay the stresses the hurricane and current economic crisis have exerted on our arts community.  The larger point, however, is that it is difficult to truly engage the greater metropolitan area and relay the important impact of the arts in Houston without the help and support of our local media.  Ideally, our local news outlets should play a role, alongside the mayor, in solidifying Houston’s role as a cultural arts leader in our country. 

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~ by ladamesansregrets on November 9, 2008.

One Response to “Misguided reporting: Media undermining Houston arts interests”

  1. This coverage is excellent: keep checking http://www.haablog.com for updates!

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