Although 2010 is just underway, most states are in the process of preparing budgets for FY 2011 (and beyond). Coming into this year it was known that the next few budget cycles would be difficult for a large portion of states, and arts advocates would be in for a battle in many cases.
Unfortunately, so far that is the case if proposed budgets by governors are taken at face value; however, experts agree that if states can hang on for another year or two, the recession’s impact will finally end, and recovery will begin to advance at a more rapid pace.
Here’s a quick look at current proposed state arts budgets:
One of the most drastic cuts proposed so far was in Rhode Island where Gov. Donald Carcieri offered to eliminate the state arts agency’s entire $700,000 grants budget. In Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer has proposed a $2 million allocation for the Arizona Commission for the Arts, down from $4.9 million just a few years ago. Also, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is not only proposing to cut the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism’s general fund in half, but he also wants to eliminate the position of Lieutenant Governor, who oversees the department.
Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is bucking the trend this year, proposing a relatively-stable $2.36 million for arts grants in FY 2011. Of course, she eliminated the state’s Department of Humanities, Arts, and Libraries last year. In a similar light, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell offered a $1 million cut for the state arts council (down to $10 million), but a number of line items for museums, zoos, public television, and arts education professional development were completely cut.
Of course all of these proposals still need to be vetted through their respective legislatures and all of the numbers are likely to change. One way to help change the numbers in a favorable way for the arts is to lend your voice to your state arts advocacy and arts education organizations. Help them reach out to officials at all levels of government to ensure they understand not only the intrinsic value of the arts, but also the benefits of arts education in the twenty-first century workforce, and the economic impact of the creative economy in your state and community.
Although most budgets will not be finalized until early to mid-summer, it’s never a bad time to fight for the arts.
Do you have any pro-arts arguments that have worked in your state or city? Tell us in the comment section below!