Sunday, May 10, 2009

Arts funding in Pennsylvania

The Citizen's for the Arts in Pennsylvania recently mounted a campaign to recover funding for the arts in the state budget. From their email --
Late yesterday afternoon (May 6), the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 850, which included zero funding for arts grants through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), by a 30-20 vote. ...

... We may have lost this battle but we haven't lost the war. On Monday, House Appropriations Chair Dwight Evans introduced the House budget bill (HB 1416) which includes $14 million for arts grants. The House will act on this piece of legislation later this month.

You can find out how your representative voted here. At the same time that the state budget was under discussion, President Obama approved a 4% increase in the National Endowment for the Arts in the federal budget. The Pennsylvania Council for the Arts and the the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation are both partners of the NEA and receive at least partial funding from the federal budget. These budgets will affect the 2010 fiscal year.

These funding streams affect larger projects, museums and cultural attractions. It also affects social and educational programs that are artist-driven. Although the funding that actually makes it into the pockets of art makers is a fairly small percentage of these budgets, the affect on the economy is far-flung. From the recommended letter to your state representative, offered by Citizen's for the Arts --
State support of nonprofit arts organizations is vital to preserving our rich cultural heritage but also important in creating a healthy economy in Pennsylvania. In a recent economic study done by Americans for the Arts, nonprofit arts organizations pump approximately $1 billion into the annual economy. That's an impressive return on an investment of only $14 million.

So, if you haven't already done so, contact your state representative. Make sure they know how important this issue is to you and your community.

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