2010-04-23 / Editorial/Opinion

Keep KidsmART Safe From Budget Cuts

Last week’s crackdown on gangs brought the arrests of nearly 100 gangbangers throughout the public housing projects that dot the peninsula. That fact once more underscores the need for programs that will keep kids and young adults active in pursuits other than gangs and drugs. One of those programs that has been successful through the last ten years in keeping kids occupied after school and during the summer months is the Rockaway Artists Alliance’s kidsmART program. Now, that vital program, which has provided afterschool academic help as well as art education at two sites – Fort Tilden and PS 104 in Bayswater – during the winter and a premier summer camp during the school vacation, will end. The city’s Department of Youth and Community Development has unofficially told the RAA that the funding for the program will end in June. We understand the financial problems facing both the city and the state and that cuts to programs are necessary. We do not believe, however, that cutting vital programs for children (which presently number 500) is the answer when millions of dollars still go to consultants and political cronies. The mayor and other city agencies should take another look at funding the vital afterschool and summer programs for kids and then restore the money. The public needs to make its voice heard by the mayor, DYCD, the City Council and Commissioner Jeanne Mullgrav as to how important these programs are to all of us.

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Art programs are great, and

Art programs are great, and need funding, but...

Honestly, I don't believe an arts program will prevent the type of mentality that produced the 100 miscreants arrested last week. That problem's roots stem from multiple social failures. Namely, the undermining of the family unit by entitlement programs, popular urban thug culture and political moral bankruptcy just for starters. Do you really believe--for a hot minute--that the attending of a bi-weekly painting, drawing or sculpture class would have had that sort of impact! Considering the arrests happened prior to the cutting of this program, we can see that the cumulative effect on local thugs by arts programs are nil. In fact, if the program was low cost, or free, future thugs would have been sent there to do little more than to be warehoused, probably to the detriment of other participants.

The argument for the need of arts programs on the peninsula does not need these sorts of editorial histrionics to justify existence. The arts, visual and otherwise, are the cream of a society. Art is what rises to the top in response to the affluence, social interaction and the prevailing cultural mores of it's populous. It can be no more, or no less. To participate in such training, to learn the language of the arts is grand and worthwhile on both the personal and public level. We should rally around such programs and encourage everyone to try them out, if only to better grasp what goes into such activities.

What has happened here is that the arts have little constructive value to the politicians and the bean counters. By their estimation, the arts don't add up to much, which is why such programs are consistently cut before all others. Such mentality speaks to the small mindedness of such people and our culture in general.

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