Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Overture gives Council debate

Ald. Lauren Cnare, District 3, considered the arguments brought in front of the Council Tuesday night when members of the Overture staff brought light to the body’s failure to provide the $2 million budget it had promised the center in December 2010. Mayor Paul Soglin has only allocated $1.35 million in his budget.[/media-credit]

Overture Center staff members gathered in front of the City Council Tuesday night to express their disappointment concerning the council’s previous decision to reduce the center’s budget and urged the alders to increase funding to support local art.

Although the city promised the nonprofit Overture Center Foundation a $2 million budget in December 2010, Mayor Paul Soglin’s proposed Executive Operating Budget for 2012 only allocates $1.35 million. Council members later proposed to add $500,000 to that, but the proposal was denied.

Beth Racette, who ran community programs at Overture for 15 years, said the Overture staff has been working with staff shortages for a very long time.


“The current economic model does not support fine art,” she said.

Racette said Overture offers a wide range of programs that people from various economic levels could attend. She added Overture often gathered public input.

She said the state has been reducing art into economic equations, which she alleged has resulted in the distortion to the truth of what the Overture Center stands for. She said studies show the Overture is an economic engine in the city and county.

She added that Overture also serves a cultural purpose in the community.

“Art allows us to know more about ourselves,” she said. “Art allows us to know more about others. Art allows us to laugh and cry. These are essential acts and qualities for a democratic society,” she said.

She asked the council to keep its commitment to Overture’s development, arguing the center cannot sustain any further cuts.

Steve Head, an employee of the University of Wisconsin School of Education, also asked the council to support Overture’s budget as much as possible.

“When people come to Overture they bring their communities with them,” Head said. “I know it makes a difference.”

Apart from the public hearing, the council members also held discussion on a proposed amendment which motioned to exempt certain properties in James Madison Park from the shoreline parks referendum requirement.

According to the Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development, all public parks in Madison that border lakes or waterways will be protected as public open space.

Voter approval by city referendum is required for any change in the legal status of and before beginning or continuing major construction in any of these public parks, according to the department.

Ald. Bridget Maniaci, District 2, opposed the change.

“On a fairness basis, properties should be equal in consideration,” she said. “I think you should treat them equally.”

However, Ald. Steve King, District 7, was “100 percent against the referendum.”

“We are the ones who were called to make decisions,” he said. “I don’t think we should shift responsibility by sending it back to the public on legislative matters.”

The motion was approved.

The council also took time to show gratitude to veterans and families for their contribution to the country and the community.

Ald. Paul Skidmore said Madison is home for about 12,900 veterans.

“We honor veterans from all wars and conflicts of United States,” he said. “Honor for their patriotism and love for country and willingness to sacrifice for the country.”

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