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Volume 26, Number 4 — April 2019

Statistics: Budgetary Commitments to the Arts

September 30, 2008

? BACK to the main story, "How Does Your Community Fund the Arts?"

KINGSPORT, TN ? FY09 Budget: $147,113,350 ? Population: 44,435
$ 87,600Fun Fest (arts activities)
7,000Kingsport Arts Council
2,000Kingsport Art Guild
5,000Kingsport Ballet
282,200Kingsport Cultural Arts Division
1,092,000Kingsport Public Library
55,200Kingsport Renaissance Center
5,000Kingsport Theatre Guild
224,650Public Art program *
5,000Symphony of the Mountains
70,000Various concerts (on Broad Street, etc.)
1.25percent of total budget
41.31dollars spent per capita

* Included in this amount is $104,650, money that was appropriated in FY07 and FY08. The amount that will go to the Public Art program for FY09 is approximately $120,000. Kingsport's Public Art program fund is set up as a project. According to Bonnie Macdonald, Kingsport's Cultural Arts administrator, "This means that funding can flow into this account and will be held until a 'project' is complete. The Sculpture Walk is funded by private contributions. The Arts Council of Greater Kingsport accepts the contributions and conveys them to the City's Public Art Fund; then the contracts with artists are held by the City, which pays them from the private dollars contributed. Also, all the donations to purchase sculptures went to the City where they could be pooled with allocated funds from the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in order for the City to purchase the sculptures."

WYTHEVILLE, VA ? FY09 Budget: $19.8 million ? Population: 8,500
$ 80,000Department of Museums *
1,500Various concerts, including fireworks
7,500Wythe-Grayson Regional Library
$ 105,000TOTAL
0.53percent of total budget
12.35dollars spent per capita

* According to Frances Emerson, Director of Wytheville's Department of Museums, the Town pays the staff salaries for her Department (except for seasonal school instructors), all of the overhead costs, and the majority of the costs for school programs and public programs for adult audiences. Some of these costs are line items but most are included as part of overall budget costs; for example, salaries that are pro-rated for other staff who assist with activities, utilities, postage, marketing, etc. For instance, she says, "The line item in the budget for First Thursdays [a performing arts series] is $5,000, but this is only for the performers; it does not include staff costs, utilities, publicity, etc. The best I can do is to give you an estimate of $100,000 that is designated specifically for school programs, First Thursdays, publications, and educational programs for adults. This figure includes salaries for all staff involved; the costs of performers for First Thursdays series; demonstrators at the Homestead Living History Festival; instructional and promotional materials; marketing; transportation to the schools; and some overhead/operating expenses. Of this total, the Town of Wytheville contributes approximately $80,000." The remaining $20,000 is generated through admissions, contributions and sponsorships from the Wythe County Board of Supervisors, the Wythe County Historical Society, other local organizations and businesses, and grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Bristol is the official "Birthplace of Country Music," but Bristol Tennessee and Bristol Virginia are independent cities, each with its own governing body.

In addition to the following budget line items, the Twin Cities provide in-kind services (e.g. labor and equipment) and/or co-sponsorships — rather than cash — to such events as Border Bash, Art in Public Places, and various concerts held in city parks.*

* According to Terrie Smith-Talbert, Director of the Department of Community Relations for the City of Bristol Tennessee, there is a line item in her budget that provides funding in part to concerts in city parks. She says, "My staff is charged with the responsibility to go into the community and seek sponsorships for these events in order to offset the budget costs and has done so fairly successfully."

BRISTOL, TN ? FY09 Budget: $95,064,599 ? Population: 25,435
$ 25,000Birthplace of Country Music Alliance
800,114Bristol Public Library
25,000Rhythm and Roots Reunion
0.89percent of total budget
33.42dollars spent per capita

BRISTOL, VA ? FY09 Budget: approx. $50 million ? Population: 17,500
$ 12,500Birthplace of Country Music Alliance
627,000Bristol Public Library
2,000The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail
25,000Rhythm & Roots Reunion
$ 666,500TOTAL
1.33approx. percent of total budget
38.09approx. dollars spent per capita

ABINGDON, VA ? FY09 Budget: $12,353,341 ? Population: 8,003
Abingdon is a Virginia Historic Landmark, boasting a 20-square block Historic District. It is home to the Barter Theatre, the "State Theatre of Virginia," one of the longest-running professional regional theatres in the nation. Abingdon is on The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail and the annual Virginia Highlands Festival, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year.

In Abingdon's FY09 budget, the following appropriations are arts-related:
$ 5,000The Arts Depot
10,000Barter Theatre
12,000Cave House Craft Shop
5,000Crooked Road
5,000Highlands Jazz Festival
30,000Virginia Highlands Festival
4,000Washington County Fair
7,500Washington County Public Library
110,000William King Regional Arts Center
25,000Various musical events
$ 213,500TOTAL
3.02percent of total budget
46.6dollars spent per capita

According to Mark Godbey, Treasurer for the Town of Abingdon, the library amount is for books, the Penn House amount is for operating the museum, the Cave House is for needed repairs to the house, and the remaining agency contributions are for operations.

"Where the Pioneer Spirit Began"
The City's website claims, "Once a 'wild frontier' where Davey Crockett and Daniel Boone roamed the wilderness, it's now a place where Appalachian culture thrives amidst the creature comforts you'd expect in a big city." Today Johnson City is best known for East Tennessee State University and the Quillen College of Medicine.

JOHNSON CITY, TN ? FY 09 Budget: $200,269,058 ? Population: 59,866
$ 8,000Blue Plum Festival
12,381Friends of Olde Downtown *
4,762Hands On! Regional Museum
26,190Johnson City Area Arts Council
1,475,750Johnson City Public Library
5,000Johnson City Symphony **
8,000Umoja/Unity Community
0.77%percent of total budget
25.72dollars spent per capita

* Friends of Olde Downtowne works to bring attention of Johnson City's downtown area. The organization assists with First Friday events (concerts and gallery "art walks") and the Blue Plum Festival.
** This is the first year that the City has contributed to the Johnson City Symphony.

According to Lora Groce, Budget Manager for the City of Johnson City, "Each agency submits an application for their City appropriation each year, which includes their financial information. There is no guarantee that any agency will receive the same level of funding or any funding at all the following fiscal year. We have a committee in place to review the applications and make recommendations to the City Manager and the City Commission. From there, the Commission has the final say on each appropriation. To my knowledge, we do not earmark any of the funds we provide to these agencies for a specific event or expense."
City/TownPercent of total budgetDollars spent per capita
ABINGDON, VA3.0246.67
BRISTOL, TN0.8933.42
BRISTOL, VA1.3338.09
KINGSPORT, TN1.2541.31