Artoberfest In Jeopardy

Jan 30, 2011 12:54 PM

For the last six years Artoberfest has hosted events such as the Chico palio horse sculpture race, art studio tours, music, theater, even a tribute to Michael Jackson's thriller dance. But that could all fall by the wayside if the city council drops funding needed for the marketing campaign in 2011. " It affects so many small theater groups, dance companies, individual artists, organizations that are hanging on by a string, literally" said Debra Lucero, executive director for Friends Of The Arts.
With the city of Chico facing a 6.7 million dollar budget deficit over the next two years, city manager Dave Burkland is recommending no funding be allocated to the Artoberfest campaign. However Friends Of The Arts executive director Debra Lucero says cutting funding to the campaign would be a bad move since the event generates money for the city. " We basically looked at bare line data for the transient occupancy tax for the month of October and that consistently went up above and bey9ond the annual percentage growth that the city experiences" explained Lucero. And the local art community would feel the loss. Chico Paper Company Owner Greg Strong said " I think not just for our business, bur for all of the community, Artoberfest brings a regional and local attention to the arts". Cathy Tuttle, coordinator for Chico's thrill the world dance added " The Palio is such a great avenue for the kids to be a part of the community and be a part of art events that they can participate in".
But it's not just the art community who depend on Artoberfest. Local business owners say the event brings in much needed revenue. Tin Roof Bakery & Cafe owner Brandon Siewert said " It generates a lot of activity in the business community in Chico and it's great for business for us". Marog Graham, who owns the Goodman House Bed & Breakfast adds " We have struggled the last few years with the economy the way it is, and yet for October because of Artoberfest, people still keep coming".
The fate of the event lies in the hands of the city council... a decision could come as early as Tuesday.


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