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If Jac Venza, this year's recipient of the Intl. Council's founder's award, had his way, TV audiences in America would be begging for more dramatizations of classic British novels, Kathleen Battle recitals and Philip Glass operas. However, in the real world, the director of cultural and arts programs at New York pubcaster WNET, faces a harsher cultural climate.
"Our biggest challenge these days is the impact of commercial TV in many of the countries that were our primary partners in arts programming," Venza says. "In addition to that, we have to come up with more funding than ever to keep up with the increasing production values seen in commercial fare."
Venza, one of the pioneers of noncommercial TV in America for over three decades, has seen numerous U.S. administrations go back and forth with their sponsorship of arts. Back when the Chicago native began his career in theater design in New York, funding for the arts wasn't exactly topical. …