Arts NC State is the umbrella department that supports and oversees all of the arts departments at NC State. These departments include the Crafts Center, the Dance Program, the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, the Department of Music, NC State LIVE and University Theater.
Rich Holly, executive director of the arts at NC State, said despite a budget reduction of $26,000 from the 2016-17 to 2017-18 school years, NC state’s arts programs have not attempted to raise student fees, but have continued to maintain all levels of service and activities sufficiently, even yielding program growth.
“We had a budget cut coming into my second year here at NC State, and we’ve been flat since then,” Holly said.
According to Holly, approximately two-thirds of the budget comes from student fees, and the other third is balanced between donor and state funding. Event sales and attendance also help increase revenue for the various arts programs, and the arts departments try to maximize their limited resources often.
“We are constantly being like, ‘Okay, we have a set amount of dollars, what’s the best way we can use that so that students have the best opportunities available to them?’” Holly said. “I decreased my own offices’ budget by $45,000, and I decreased our marketing budget by $25,000. I didn’t want the major units to decrease unless I had to impart it to them, because that’s really where the students have the impact.”
The budget drop has not managed to affect student involvement and faculty size, however. According to Holly, faculty size has mostly remained the same after the budget cut, while student involvement in the arts at NC State has steadily grown throughout the years.
“Well, of course we’d like more,” said Gregg Museum Director Roger Manley. “In the process of moving the museum to a different location, we lost an auditorium. I would like for us to have a sort of dedicated auditorium for lectures and public events. What we do now is that we pull down shades in the lobby, set up a projector and screen there, and we do that sometimes in the gallery also.”
Staff in the arts departments do have concerns about space and class availability, however, and many department members work more than forty hours per week to sustain the arts program and optimize resources available for students.
“One of our other teaching spaces for the music department is Broughton Hall, and from what I understand, part of Broughton Hall is on the demolish list,” said Assistant Marching Band Director Chris Branam. “I don’t know how much longer we’re going to have that.”
Marching band budgeting, unlike the other departments at NC State, fuses its budgeting with the athletics department. According to Holly and Branam, budgeting marching band falls mostly in the hands of the athletics department, but the music instructors at NC State take care of instruction.
“Everything that comes from the athletics department is spent annually,” Branam said. “Getting new instruments, getting instruments repaired, providing buses and transportation for, say, the marching band members going to Georgia Tech with me, all goes through our athletics budget.”
With a growing demand and a flat budget, staff members in the arts departments are always looking to circumnavigate work burnout.
“We are much, much smaller in terms of staff than other departments around the state,” Manley said. “We have 10 people at Gregg, eight full time. The Ackland at Chapel Hill has 38, and Nasher at Duke has 42, so we are roughly a fourth the size of those other two museums, but our collection is twice as large and we host more shows and book publishings. I get worried sometimes that our staff here might burn out.”
Regardless of the setbacks in the arts departments, the staff largely works out of passion for the arts to thrive at NC State.
“I feel lucky that we have a lot of students pursue their arts to the degree that they can become professional,” Manley said. “Our departments tend to be more inclusive in that way.”