The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the symposium "ART/CITY" on March 16, 2012. Participants have been invited to respond to the prompt “in relation to the arts and civic life, the question I am wrestling with right now is…” in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Mary Ann Merker, Civic Arts Coordinator, City of Berkeley.
“In relation to the arts and civic life, the question I am wrestling with right now is…” leveraging funding due to the budget problems currently in place with local governments. The silver lining in this money challenge is the new partnerships we have been able to forge with community agencies that are not the "usual suspects."
The city has partnered with the Audubon Society for a functional public art project in the Berkeley Marina and with Earth Island Institute for a shared public art project in the downtown. A new partnership with the Downtown Berkeley Association for public art for the BART Plaza is currently being worked out.
The past partnership with Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the US and UC Berkeley Professor won awards for out Addison Street Poetry Walk and published Anthology.
Internally the challenge is learning to do more with less support staff and learning new technology methods to help the administrative work.
I would be very interested to hear how others are dealing with the money crunch and what they have found to assist in administrative staff work.