New York City’s Public Theater “Shakespeare in the Park” production of “Julius Caesar” sparked political drama for its on-stage assassination of a Trump-like Roman ruler. Before the performance Donald Trump Jr. asked via a tweet, “I wonder how much of this ‘art’ is funded by taxpayers?”
Here’s the answer to Trump Jr’s question: Data at OpenTheBooks.com shows that over $4.1 million in federal, state and city grants funded the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) – the parent company to Public Theater and its production, Shakespeare in the Park – over the past three years. The total amount since 2009? Nearly $30 million.
After Trump, Jr’s tweet, the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) was quick to clarify it had not funded this particular Shakespeare in the Park performance. However, the NEA disclosed its $630,000 in grants to NYSF since 2009. The NEA also disclosed that it continued grantmaking to NYSF’s other Public Theater project – “New York Voices” at Joe’s Pub – giving $25,000 in February.
By any estimation, NYSF is cashflow and asset-rich. In the latest year of IRS disclosed data (ending 8/2015), the non-profit had a financial asset base of $53 million; saved $22.4 million in cash-on-hand and invested securities; received nearly $28 million in contributions – $106 million over the past five years; and earned total revenues of $40 million.
Adam Andrzejewski is the founder and chief executive officer of OpenTheBooks.com. To read his full column at Forbes.com, click here.