Friday, April 4, 2008

More Coffee Please...

Posted by Jessica Daugherty

ROSTOV's Coffee & Conversations

This Tuesday, April 8
at 9:30 AM

Rostov's Coffee & Conversations
at Willow Lawn

On The Board's: The Role of Richmond's Theatre Trustees

Moderator: Peggy Baggett, Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts


Barksdale at The Shops at Willow Lawn
Time: 9:30 -10:30 AM
Cost: Suggested $3 Donation includes Rostov's Coffee, Hot Tea and Pastries
No reservations required. Questions? Call our Box Office at 804-282-2620.

For the full schedule of Coffee & Conversations Events, click here. Three more Coffee & Conversations dates have been added to the schedule! Thanks to Rostov's for making this program possible.

Meet the Stars Cancellation

In response to cuts in state funding, Barksdale Theatre has cancelled the two remaining Meet the Stars events originally announced for the 2007-08 Season. Cancelled are the Little Dog Laughed discussion program on Monday, April 14, and the Guys and Dolls discussion program on Monday, June 16.

Those who would like to participate in discussions with the casts of these two productions may attend Rostov's Coffee & Conversation events scheduled for Tuesday, May 13, 9:30 a.m. (Behind the Scenes of The Little Dog Laughed) and Tuesday, July 8, 9:30 a.m. (Behind the Scenes of Guys and Dolls). All Rostov's Coffee & Conversation events are held in the lobby of Barksdale Theatre at Willow Lawn.


Anonymous said...

Can you share any info about the cuts in state funding? Is Barksdale/Theatre IV having to make other adjustments? And probably the R.Ballet and Symphony as well?

In this forecast of tight economy, are your corporate donations/sponsorships also down?

How can "the average citizen" help?

Thank you.

Bruce Miller said...

Virginia is one of the few states that chooses to support the arts in two ways:

1 - through a rational, fair process managed by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and

2 - through the purely political pork barrel funding handed out by the state legislators themselves.

It makes sense that, when times get tough and money gets tight, pork barrel funding is the first thing to go. What would make the most sense would be for Virginia to forego pork barrel funding period and provide ALL state funding for the arts through the impartial process of the Virginia Commission.

And now would be the perfect time to make that change, when the legislators have been forced by the tight economy to forego bringing home the bacon for their pet projects. Any and all future increases is state funding for the arts should go to the Virginia Commission, not to a return of pork barrel funding.

Virginia supports its state arts commission far less that all our neighboring states. And pork barrel funding is always doled out unfairly to those organizations that have the most political pull rather than those organizations that are most deserving. There is virtually no objective oversight of pork barrel funding, and so limited funds are invariably wasted.

If the legislators want to continue to seek political funds for their pet projects, they should limit these funds to bricks and mortar. The Virginia Commission for the Arts doesn't fund capital projects, so there would be no overlap or conflict.

Most Virginians have little to no knowledge of the mishmash that makes up our state's support for the nonprofit arts sector. What the average citizen should do is demand more transparency from the process.

As it is now, all of the arts organizations are forced to face uncertain futures where we compete with each other behind the scenes in the political world for legislated financial favors. If all state funding went through the VCA, there would be a more level playing field, nonprofit organizations could spend more time on mission and less time on politics, legislators could spend more time governing and less time listening to constituents pleading on behalf of their favorite nonprofit, and there would be less year to year fluctuation between lean years and flush. The only thing that would suffer is the benefit that incumbent politicians have to bring state funds home to their district through pork barrel funding.

Thanks for the questions.

--Bruce Miller

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Chase Kniffen is no longer in charge of "Coffee and Conversations?"

Jessica said...

Sadly, this is true. Chase has left to pursue a new career opportunity. We have enjoyed having Chase on our staff for the last three years. We think he’s done an excellent job.

Coffee & Conversations is being organized by a number of staff people involved in everything from setting up the chairs and the pastries to coordinating with panel members. If you have a question about a Coffee & Conversations event, you can email me at or you can call our box office at 804-282-2620.