"So I can’t give you back my heart completely…"

…and I reserve the right to change my mind. The cheatin’ hearts in this case belong to a smattering of members on the Nashville Metropolitan Council, who seem to be getting cold feet as the Nashville Symphony’s new Schermerhorn Symphony Center walks up the aisle to its scheduled opening. See, the city of Nashville contributed five million dollars a year to the Center last year, and is scheduled to do the same for the next two years, but now said council members are looking to bail on the future part of that commitment. (Article via Arts Journal.) In the words of council member John Summers:

“I think the amount of money that’s been committed to the Symphony is excessive, and I think that the administration has not been forthcoming with what their commitment was.”

—which raises the question of just how forthcoming he would like it to be. I found the commitment clearly spelled out on page 47 of Nashville’s 2006-07 proposed Capital Improvements Budget (long PDF from an FTP server that seems to crash Safari; use Firefox). (For perspective, the CIB also has five million dollars earmarked for new concession stands at the Nashville Coliseum.) Here’s the kicker: the budget was unanimously approved by the Nashville Metropolitan Council on June 13, 2006. That’s right—the naysayers voted for the funding only two months ago. My fickle friend, the summer wind.

Extra fun! Do a quick ‘n’ dirty calculation of the economic impact of a local arts organization. (I plugged in some numbers for Nashville, and it would seem that this unsourced claim of a 20-million-dollar impact in the Center’s first year is not that pie-in-the-sky.)

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