Americans for the Arts, the advocacy group, has a lot on its plate, including, once a week, sending out an email of news items called ArtsWatch. Last week’s edition, which arrived on
Wednesday, July 29, has been nagging at me. The numbers in the articles just don’t make sense. I’ve written the press office asking for an explanation, but have received no reply. So I’m posting the three items here — perhaps I’m crazy, and the numbers are right; if so, please explain. If not, these are more examples of funny numbers in the arts that don’t exactly inspire confidence (not to mention some pretty lazy reporting and/or writing).
Under the heading, “The Arts In Recession”:
Iowa: Federal Stimulus Funds Save Over 300 Arts Jobs
Quad-City Times, 7/22/2009
Nearly $500,000 in federal stimulus money is being spread to 18 arts organizations in 10 cities, preserving a total of 323 jobs according to Gov. Chet Culver’s office.
AND, from the same article/item:
The National Endowment for the Arts also approved $150,000 in stimulus money for arts organizations in Amana, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, and Dubuque. The governor’s office said the stimulus money preserved 34 full-time and 104 part-time jobs, as well as 185 contract positions.”
Rhode Island: State Arts Council Receives Stimulus Money, Foundation Funds
The Providence Journal, 7/28/2009
“Governor Carcieri and members of the state congressional delegation has joined more than 100 members of the arts community to announce the arrival of nearly $300,000 in federal stimulus money for the arts. The Rhode Island Foundation contributed an additional $100,000 to the federal stimulus package, which allowed the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts to support a total of 18 organizations. The money will allow the recipients to restore or retain 77 positions in the arts, from free performances of Shakespeare in Westerly to after-school art teachers.
Do a little division, and those numbers yield salaries that are waaaay below the minimum wage, even leaving the part-time and contract jobs out of the calculation.
So, am I missing something?
It’s not Americans for the Arts’ job to correct newspaper reporting; but it doesn’t do much good to circulate silly numbers either.