Monday, May 13, 2024

Metro Council Ensures the Chaos at the Arts Commision Continues.

by Rod Williams, May 13, 2024- Anyone who is paying attention knows things are a mess at Metro Arts Commission. We have a director who has been on sick leave due to being a victim of racism and has not worked in months and a Commision that won't fire him without hearing from him, but to hear from him would constitute "work" and he can't work while on sick leave. We had a respected wealthy patron of the arts and a good liberal who is a donor to the Democratic Party and Democrat candidates, who was serving on the Commission, who due to receiving death threats because he was deemed insufficiently woke, resign. We had frivolous ethics charges brought against a member of the Commission for simply doing her due diligence. There have been lawsuits and inability to finalize grants. The Commission unconstitutionally made race-based grant awards that had to be rescinded. The chaos has been going on for years and does not get better. 

What does the Council do? They endorse the chaos and ensure things will not get better. The Metro Council at its last meeting amended the purpose of the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission by adding language specifying that its purpose is to also "promote equity in the arts community." 

The purposes of the Arts Commission were the following: 

A. To promote the study, participation in and appreciation of the visual, performing and literary arts;

B. To support and participate in the presentation of displays, exhibits, recitals, concerts, lectures and symposia;

C. To cooperate with and assist public and private educational institutions, the media, and other private and governmental entities involved in artistic and cultural promotion;

D. To provide information and recommendations to the metropolitan county council and the metropolitan county mayor with respect to the architectural design and aesthetics of public places and property.

Now added to that is:

To promote equity in the arts community 

The ordinance does not define "equity," but equity usually means equal outcomes. It means there should not be a greater percentage of the Black population in prison than the White population nor a greater percentage of White homeowner than the percentage of Black homeowners. It means there should not be a greater percentage of White brain surgeons that Black brain surgeons.  It assumes than any unequal outcome is the result of racism. An equity policy works to correct the imbalance, often without regard to factors such as effort or merit or ability that may contribute to the imbalance. 

Already the Commission had an Equity Statement. Now, equity is one of the legislated official purposes of the Arts Commission. This will give more power to the disrupters who want to fund murals and progressive political art rather than the Symphony. 

The bill had twelve co-sponsors and passed the Council in an unrecorded voice vote. If I had been on the Council, I would have had myself recorded as voting "no." I am disappointed that none of the more conservative members of the body did not do so.

To read the bill and the analysis follow this link. For more on the Metro Arts Commission visit this link and link. To view arts commission funded art, follow this link. For more on the chaos and disfunction at the Metro Arts Commission, see the following:

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