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Elgin set to OK funds for arts organizations

Updated: February 23, 2013 6:19AM

ELGIN — After hearing Wednesday night from representatives of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra about its financial situation and what it may want from the city, council members are set to move along awarding $66,242 to 13 other arts organizations in town.

According to supporting material for Wednesday’s meeting, the funding is part of the city’s goal of using the arts to revitalize the downtown and establish the old central business district as an arts center for the Fox Valley.

“Supporting local arts organizations through public funding is critical in helping achieve this goal,” the document states. “The arts bring the community together and contribute to the quality of life of the city’s residents.”

The following projects, and funding, are recommended by the Cultural Arts Commission:

Ballet Folklorico for a show in September: $4,628.

The Children’s Theatre of Elgin for a concert in June: $6,611.

The Elgin Historical Museum for a Wendell Moselay art exhibit: $1,771.

The Elgin Children’s Chorus for a concert: $4,533.

The Elgin Choral Union for a concert: $3,772.

The Elgin OPERA company for a concert: $3,137.

The Elgin Theatre Company for a production: $2,689.

The Elgin Youth Symphony for a concert: $6,564.

Hamilton Wings for a concert: $6,942.

The Heartland Voices for a concert: $8,075.

The Independent Players for two productions: $2,828.

The Janus Theatre for a summer theater festival: $8,128.

Mayor David Kaptain said Monday that at least half of the allocations are set to go to organizations that work with children.

Another $6,564 has been set aside for the ESO, but city staff is recommending the council withhold that funding until members decide what they might be doing to further assist the financially troubled symphony.

Last week, Kaptain told The Courier-News that Elgin was receiving mixed signals from the ESO as to what it may be asking the city for on Wednesday night.

David Bearden, the interim director of the ESO, told The Courier-News in a November interview that the ESO’s budget has been cut by $500,000, mostly in front-office positions.

According to documents given to him, Kaptain said, the ESO has a cash flow problem and is short by $400,000 for the first 60 days of its 2012-13 budget. The city, however, believes that cash flow problem is more in the range of $600,000 to $700,000, Kaptain said.

The city has told the ESO board and Bearden that it must set up a payment plan for a $215,000 back rental bill at the city-owned Hemmens Cultural Center.

Bearden has said he wants to make the presentation to the council on Wednesday before commenting further.

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