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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Lafayette College Gets a $10,000 Jazz Grant

US Congressman Matt Cartwright proudly announced yesterday that Lafayette College has received a $10,000 federal grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). This grant will provide support for their long-running Jazz Series programming at the Williams Center for the Arts. Alison R. Byerly, president of Lafayette College, gushed, “The Jazz Series enriches student experience, contributes to the artistic growth of this important field, and provides uniquely inspiring encounters for the public at large. The NEA’s endorsement of this program is valuable testimony to the important role the arts play in our region."

This bothers me. First, Lafayette is a private school with a $740 million endowment. It has no need for federal grant money. Second, a grant for jazz appreciation would be better spent in venues where it's actually created, not an engineering school for people who are already too rich to much appreciate anything. Third, members of the public who wish to see these jazz series programs have to pay for the privilege. Lafayette makes no effort to bring in the unwashed masses. This is a subsidy for the artsy-fartsies.

I believe that the arts do need our support, but this is a waste of taxpayer dollars. We are paying for grants to put on shows we have no money to see.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agreed. They should offer at least one concert for free. Even then they would be lucky if 30 people attended. Jazz is dead.

Doc Rock said...

One of the finest concerts we have attended was Wynton Marsalis and his band at Zoellner about 15 years ago. The entire evening was free form as each musician shared solo time. Afterward, Wynton and his band members invited the audience backstage to talk about jazz. Instead of rushing back to NYC on a Saturday night, they shared stories and engaged lively conversations about all kinds of music. They were most gracious. BTW, Wynton wore a killer outfit that was perfectly pressed. I'd like to say it sent a shiver up my leg. #jazzlives.

Anonymous said...

You don't get to have 3/4 of a billion dollars by spending your own money.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. But Lafayette long ago stopped being an engineering school. It's a snowflake institute with lots of soft majors that cost kabillions and prepare graduates to be baristas.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, my wife's Obama care premium was 16,000 this year with a 5,000 deductible. Trump did introduce a budget eliminating this type of funding. And, you ask yourself how did an idiot get elected president.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Lafayette has a long history of providing top-level jazz programming at a reasonable cost, $20-30 a seat. With a very few exceptions, there are no other places in the Lehigh Valley were the jazz is as good as it has been at Lafayette. Jazz isn't economically viable most venues in the Lehigh Valley (The Sands, PPL center), but perfect for the smaller Williams Center. A Lafayette jazz performance could cost four or five times more in New York City, perhaps just slightly less in Philadelphia.

Anonymous said...

7:01am: Reasonable for locals, students, elderly is not $20-$30 per seat. There was a free children's show during the 2016 Holiday season but the time was well into the evening when most children are in bed--no free matinee. Guess it "looked good" but not accessible to the members of the community who it "aimed" to attract. Lafayette has not made any visible initiative to include the local community in its programing, but rather has infiltrated its upper class campus into the only affordable housing on college hill. I will say that there is a group of students that provide free tutoring during the school year at the Easton Area Public Library. I hope to see more of this type of community effort. Hey Lafayette, how about hosting a free needs-based summer camp with STEM curriculum? Or after school program on the campus?

Thank you Bernie for your ongoing community reporting.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I disagree. Lafayette has a long history of providing top-level jazz programming at a reasonable cost, $20-30 a seat. "

This sentence explains why Trump won. You are completely out of touch with people. A billionaire was able to play on this kind of elitism and win the election. $20-30 for a jazz show is far from reasonable. And we should not be giving any organization that is already well endowed a federal grant so it can demand even more money from the public.

I support funding NPR or PBS, which is free for one and all. I support funding art that is free to the public. I do not support this at all.

Jeff Fox said...

Definitely a waste of taxpayer dollars. That my congressman, Matt Cartwright is proud of this is quite problematic.

Anonymous said...

This is why NIA needs to be funded by private foundations and not the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

Smithsonian channel has commercial support. National Geographic channel has commercial support. Sesame Street was bought by HBO for how many Billion $$$ ?

Corporation for Public Broadcasting (PBS/NPR) can run commercials as well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I believe strongly in public support of these important sources of news, which is available to one and all. I have a different view about subsidizing a rich college for a jazz serie that the public must still pay to see.

Anonymous said...

I would strongly support NPR if they were fair and balanced and reported the news in a non-partisan manner. Currently is is simply a taxpayer-funded organ of the Democratic Party.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You don't listen much.

Anonymous said...

Public Television (PBS) and Radio (NPR) were originally funded when there wasn't much on the airwaves. This is now 2017. There are hundreds of channels available and both are quite capable of making money on their own without a government handout.

With $20 Trillion in public debt and a $500 Billion annual deficit, the Federal Government can no longer afford to keep funding things that are unnecessary to its core responsibilities. NPR, NEA, etc. can go do their own fundraising, run commercials from sponsors who support their programming, and let people that support them contribute instead of the taxpayer. If it can't attract an audience on its own, then let it die.

Bernie O'Hare said...

They already do a lot of their own fundraising and have membership drives. I like to listen to a station that is not shilling for some used furniture salesman every 30 seconds, and that is driven by a desire to tell the news instead of the latest Hollywood scandal. Federal funding makes that possible and is much easier to justify than this Lafayette grant. And that is the topic I wrote about.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, are we all sure this isn't just another misappropreation from somewhere else to buy some more edited out news advertisment space?

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do not understand your question.

Anonymous said...

<I believe strongly in public support of these important sources of news, which is <available to one and all. I have a different view about subsidizing a rich college for <a jazz serie[s] that the public must still pay to see.

Without the funding, both state and national, niche events such as jazz and classical music wouldn't be heard in the Lehigh Valley. Without the funding, ticket prices would be too high. This funding exists is to bring events such as jazz to areas where they wouldn't be heard, at least being performed by the sort of nationally and internationally known musicians who play at Lafayette.


You can say (and some of the people on this thread have) that it's okay; let the music die or make people pay. If ticket prices were $200, I couldn't afford to go, and the music would die. But if it's $20, I can. There are no jazz venues, as such, in the Lehigh Valley. Most of the performances are at local colleges. Lafayette's Williams Center may be the best place to hear jazz or classical music in the valley. If a "poor" school such as LCCC got the grant, would that be okay?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry but I refuse to support the diversion of limited tax dollars for a jazz program at an entity that is already well endowed and is still charging the public. If a poorer school got the grant and did not charge the public, yes, i would support the grant. As it stands, this is elitist.

Patriot2 said...

Funding for the arts & PBS/NPR is an outdated model when they can get funding from the Gates & Buffett Foundations. Lafayette is only one example about why Federal taxpayer money no longer should be part of this model.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, I don't know what you think putting on live musical performances cost, but it is not nothing, and most jazz musicians perform as a side gig because they don't make much from performing for the public or recording for it to be their only income. This grant is supporting not one concert, but four, helping to pay the musicians, pay for travel for them and their instruments, and lectures and discussions by the performers. And it probably won't even cover the majority of the costs. By the way I went to a school similar to Lafayette, and most lectures were open to the public at no cost, so you may have access to those.

In addition, academic departments (and this grant was almost certainly applied for by a music professor, not some bigwig in Lafayette's administration) don't have access to the school's endowment, and regularly apply for grants to support research or artistic works. This grant is supporting artists, art eduction, and bringing art to our area which you'd normally have to go to NYC or Philly to see, and it's subsidizing your ticket if you choose to go (I mean seriously, you are complaining about a 27$ ticket for live music? That's like the same as dinner with an appetizer at an average restaurant).

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sorry but your view is very elitist.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, This school has a lot or resources that should return to the community by way of this type of event. Grants from the broken public funding should stop however. They recently received a tax payer public grant to somehow 'enforce' alcohol rules-on their OWN PROPERTY. This how the poor subsidize the rich. By the way France 24 was broadcasting to the world from Lafayette College yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Call it elitist if you like, but the arts improve everyone's quality of life and make this area a place that people want to live. Keep in mind that this is a $10,000 grant from a federal program, not a state or local program. Assuming a $3.8 trillion federal budget (which it was in 2015), this grant only cost 0.000000263% of the budget (or 0.2% of the cost of a single predator drone). There are much bigger and more wasteful fish to fry than a tiny grant funding a series of jazz concerts. This grant also dwarfs, by several orders of magnitude, the costs born by local government (at a much, much higher rate per taxpayer) to build and maintain Coca-Cola Park, but I don't hear anyone complaining about paying tickets to IronPigs games.

– 8:27

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's bc minor league baseball is universally popular, promotes tourism and economical development and does not cost an arm and a leg. I know very few kids who would be excited to hear that jazz is coming to Lafayette.