The National Endowment for the Arts made sweeping cuts in its support of established PBS shows on Wednesday, and for the first time awarded significant grants to an array of gaming, mobile and Web-based projects.
Among the PBS programs receiving significantly less financing under the 2012 Arts in Media grants were “Live From Lincoln Center,” which was awarded $100,000 last year and nothing this year.
The Metropolitan Opera received $50,000 for its national “Great Performances at the Met” telecasts, $100,000 less than in 2011. WNET in New York received $50,000 to support other “Great Performances” productions and the same amount for “American Masters,” compared to $400,000 for each last year.
Paula Kerger, PBS’s president and chief executive, called the reduced grants “disappointing.”
“The N.E.A. and PBS have been longtime partners,” she said in a telephone interview. “We do what is the mission of the N.E.A. We bring arts to every home across the country.”
She said that while she understands the endowment’s problem of balancing traditional and innovative projects, “for us this is a huge impact, and we have to scramble and try to fill the gap,” adding that she is particularly concerned about “American Masters,” “Great Performances” and “Live From Lincoln Center,” which the endowment helped to create in 1976.
Neal Shapiro, the president and chief executive of WNET, said that if “Great Performances” and “American Masters” could not make up the funds elsewhere “then obviously we cannot help as many regional arts organizations and independent filmmakers share their work with the nation.”
A Lincoln Center spokeswoman, Betsy Vorce, said that “while we regret any cut, we’re hopeful that the money will be restored next year,” adding that “Live From Lincoln Center” would not be “materially affected.”
Source: The New York Times | ELIZABETH JENSEN