This Monday’s flap concerning the Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park company and its burnt-out stage at Hafer Park highlights a problem the Edmond City Council might want to address in its upcoming budget discussions.

As council members and city staff get together to hammer out the fiscal year 2006-07 budget, it might be prudent to set aside some money for cultural events such as OSP or last year’s Acousticadia concerts at Arcadia Lake.

Perhaps the Art in Public Places program might serve as a model for what the city does. In that program, the city splits the cost of sculptures displayed in outdoor settings across the community with whoever wishes to purchase the sculpture. Better yet, the city automatically takes title to the sculpture.

While it might be unfair to ask groups like OSP or the Arts and Humanities Council to come up with half the funding for events such as concerts or plays, it’s not unreasonable to expect them to contribute a substantial portion to those activities. By doing this, the city could ensure that such desirable cultural programs such as OSP remains inside the city limits.

Edmond is fortunate to have enough in the municipal coffers to fund artistic projects such as the outdoor statuary. Perhaps council members can put together a way to fund cultural events that, incidentally, bring people to the community where they can spend their money.

Just a thought.

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