Ventura ignores public’s support for Guthrie funds

Since the start of his tenure, Gov. Ventura has certainly engaged in war with legislators over several issues. As a result, the relationship between the governor and legislators often seems precarious. Fortunately, the discourses between these two parties have benefitted the state. These checks and balances have been successful, especially with regard to the battle over arts funding. Historically, Ventura has proposed minimal funding for statewide arts projects, though fortunately the Legislature has allocated life-saving funds for these neglected projects.
Ventura’s decisions are somewhat understandable, considering his promise to return tax money to the public, a promise he has successfully fulfilled, to his credit. His proposed cuts to the arts, though, are drastic and potentially harmful for the state. Where Ventura’s vision for funding the arts seems radically minimal, the Legislature has balanced his proposals to more accurately reflect the public’s support.
The Guthrie theater was allocated $3 million in funding from the Legislature after it overrode Ventura’s veto of the funds. This allotment boosts Minnesota’s cultural worth and preserves the state’s praiseworthy arts scene. Although the public voiced much positive support for the decision, Ventura ignored it. He did, however, prioritize the public’s attitude regarding tax cuts.
Ventura argued that the Guthrie will most likely plead for greater sums of money in the future. In fact, James Morrison, the Guthrie’s director of communications, admitted the theater probably would ask for a significant amount of taxpayer money next year. Ventura’s decision to dramatically cut funding, however, is more indicative of a general dislike for government-funded arts projects. The governor’s past funding recommendations imply that, even if he is not anti-art, he does not feel that the public wants to spend their money on the Guthrie theater or similar projects. In fact, the Guthrie received boisterous public support. The members of the Legislature, both Democrats and Republicans, deserve credit for recognizing the lack of adequate funding and proposing more realistic funds to maintain Minnesota’s noteworthy arts projects.
When the University asked for funds to construct a desperately needed art building, the governor did not grant any money. Luckily, legislators stepped in and secured necessary funding. While the University did seek out private donors, garnering taxpayer support for the building was crucial. Maintaining arts education should be incorporated into the greater landscape of Minnesota’s cultural and arts enterprises.
Despite Ventura’s disappointing funding recommendations for arts projects like the Guthrie, many of these public institutions are not dependent solely on government money. One cannot deny the importance of private donors to the arts. Nevertheless, the funding allocated by the Legislature helps balance Ventura’s unusual dislike for public-supported art projects. Because of the precarious nature of government funding for the arts during Ventura’s term, it is especially important for legislators to confirm governmental support for Minnesota’s arts and culture infrastructure.