Mayor Marion Barry said yesterday he is "not afraid to talk in terms of 5-6-7-8-9-10 million dollars" in District of Columbia spending for the arts.
However, he added, "Everyone in the executive branch and the (city) council doesn't share that view. The battle is not won yet."
He made the comments at a press conference announcing the appointments of Peggy Cooper as chairwoman of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Mildred Bautista as cultural adviser to the mayor, and John Kinard, Heidi Berry and Theodis Gay as commission members.
Barry said he was directing Cooper and company to make the commission more efficient, "to develop a consistent philosophy" that would guide commission actions, and to make it "a model" among the state arts agencies. He also wants his arts team "to lay the groundwork necessary for the establishment of a Cultural Affairs Office."
The District commission's application for its basic share of National Endowment for the Arts funds this year was rejected, and Barry said he was "very upset that our application was among the worst. It's fortunate we have some friends over there [at the Endowment]" who are guiding the commission staff through the re-application process.
He said the deficient application "was sent in without my knowledge and my consent" and that those who send in such applications "won't be in the government very long."
Larry Neal, the current executive director of the commission, has announced his resignation. Barry said the commission "is actively looking for a new executive director, and I'm sure they'll look at Millie Bautista."