Thursday, April 1, 2004

City grants $1.3M to arts

Know Theatre gets $60K; play drew protest

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati City Council voted 7-2 Wednesday to approve a $60,000 taxpayer grant to support the home of the Know Theatre Tribe, whose performance of the play Corpus Christi last year led to protests by some Christians.

City Council's subsidy to Gabriel's Corner, the Sycamore Street home to the cutting-edge theater company, was part of a $1.3 million package of arts giveaways.

Republicans Sam Malone and Pat DeWine voted against the Know Theatre Tribe's grant.

Charterite Jim Tarbell, chairman of the Arts, Culture & Tourism Committee, defended the grant, saying that it goes only to capital improvements and not to perform a specific artistic work.

Others receiving money: Art Academy of Cincinnati, $250,000; Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center, $100,000; Cincinnati Black Theatre Company, $100,000; Cincinnati Zoo, $100,000; Classical Music Hall of Fame, $50,000; Ensemble Theatre, $250,000; Fire Museum, $50,000; Kennedy Heights Art Center, $50,000; Madisonville Community Arts Center, $75,000; Midpoint Music Festival, $40,000; Music Hall security system, $50,000; Showboat Majestic, $100,000; Su Casa, $10,000; WGUC, $50,000.

In other action at City Council Wednesday:

• Finance Committee Chairman John Cranley canceled a planned hearing on the city's Small Business Enterprise program.

Cranley had been critical of the Purchasing Division's "brazen disregard" of a city ordinance that limits bid preferences to small business vendors to $50,000 or 10 percent of the contract. At least four bids awarded in the convention center expansion project exceeded that limit.

City Solicitor J. Rita McNeil recommended that City Council postpone public hearings until a judge rules on a lawsuit brought by an unsuccessful low bidder.

• Mayor Charlie Luken removed two protesters using racial slurs at the beginning of the public comment session of Wednesday's meeting, prompting a renewed debate over City Council's rules of decorum.

Tarbell supported increased penalties for those who disrupt meetings, but fellow Charterite Christopher Smitherman said the behavior was understandable because City Council doesn't respect the protesters. Democrat Alicia Reece said she would support eliminating the public comment session entirely.


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