Could it be? Tax relief might finally trickle down to the creative class if an amendment to the $59.9 billion tax relief bill makes it through committee. Artists would be able to deduct the fair market value of any tangible works they donate to museums or other charitable causes, which would help not only artists but cash-strapped museums, as well. Currently, artists may deduct only the cost of materials–unless the artist is dead, in which case fair market value can be deducted by their estate. Critics are concerned that works of art will be appraised far above their actual worth, allowing people to abuse the system. In response, supportive senators included stricter rules for the qualifications of appraisers.

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Robert Bennett (R-UT) sponsored the amendment to the Senate version of the bill; now it needs the support of the House to pass.

Can arts revive downtowns?
Only if done right, according to a recent article by AEA Consulting that has been getting the attention of artsy types online. “The contribution that certain overwhelmingly successful arts buildings have made to the brand definition and revitalization of urban areas,” it says, “has encouraged a rather naïve ‘copycat’ strategy in many cities throughout the world.” It warns against the notion that culture can save economically depressed urban areas on its own, advising both arts groups and public agencies on how to evaluate cultural projects, especially those that involve new buildings or other ventures that require a dense population and could siphon resources away from existing arts organizations. For the full article, see

‘Tis grant season
The Durham Arts Council is preparing 2006-2007 season grants to support single projects or general operating expenses for nonprofit organizations. First-time applicants can seek assistance from the staff. For more information, see