the company has reportedly applied for a similar grant directly available through the national endowment for the arts, likely twice that of the wab grant.
audio from the june 8th wisconsin arts jobs panel discussion of the skylight's grant application provides insight into reasons for recommending the grant be denied. (applicants with a higher score – closer to 40 – were more likely to receive the funding.)
the audio appears to suggest the skylight claimed three jobs were "at-risk" – resident music director, company manager, and artistic director. the proposed solution was to combine the company manager's job with that of the artistic director. the panel member featured in the clip suggests the skylight's grant application was not only poorly written, but perhaps not believable:
"This one I found really frustrating. I think if they had written this up differently I would have given them a much better score. I think if they had just asked for the music director, that would have made a lot of sense to me, but I don't think its my job to fix their application for them, and so I based it on what they wrote.
To me combining the Artistic Director with the Company Manager position really amounts to eliminating the Company Manager position. This is not the Artistic Director position actually being jeapordized. It does mean the Artistic Director may be absorbing some other responsibilities. I also kind of had the reaction of, 'Really? Is that really what they're going to do? Or is this just their strategy in the application?'
the fact that in may of this year the skylight was looking for money to continue the artistic director position would seem to suggest eliminating the post was not something planned months in advance.
the arts board approved the panel reccomendations on june 12. bill theisen, diana alioto and three other skylight employees lost their jobs on june 16. resident music director jamie johns was fired later that same week.
was this application simply a ruse to get grant monies, as the panel member seems to suggest, or had this grant come through on 6/12, would theisen and others not have been fired on 6/15? if the skylight receives the nea grant, which reportedly has a similar structure (i.e. the money is to be used for "at-risk" staff positions) could those positions be reinstated in some form?
an announcement on the nea grant results is due any day.