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In response to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s decision to veto funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, issued the following statement:
“In vetoing funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), Gov. Nikki Haley offers another unfortunate example of newly-elected gubernatorial leadership being out of touch with the wishes of voters for ideological reasons.
Betty Plumb, executive director of the South Carolina Arts Alliance states, ‘South Carolinians have spoken and the General Assembly has listened. The budget is balanced, and it includes the arts. The state’s small investment in the arts yields significant, statewide returns for education, quality of life, and our economy. The support and services the arts commission provides make a positive difference in our communities and schools. We don’t need to sacrifice this valuable public asset when there is no practical necessity to do so.’
South Carolina residents know that eliminating funding for the SCAC harms both quality of life and economic development in the state. They know that South Carolina’s creative industries contribute more than $9.2 billion to the state’s economy annually. They know that South Carolina’s arts sector supports more than 78,000 jobs.
They know the arts are big business in South Carolina, and they believe it is imperative to invest state dollars in this critical sector of the economy. South Carolina’s rural areas—where the impact of the flagging economy is felt most acutely—will feel the most dramatic effects of lost arts funding.
The SCAC’s long-term investment of staff assistance and modest grant funds to build support for an arts delivery and education system throughout the state is the reason arts programs in many rural communities and schools in South Carolina even exist.
We urge the residents of South Carolina to contact their state legislators through the South Carolina Arts Alliance (SCAA) website and let them know you support state funding for the arts and arts education. We encourage South Carolina arts organizations to let their legislators know how they’ve successfully leveraged state support to serve their communities—both urban and rural.
And, most importantly, we implore members of the South Carolina legislature to hear the wishes of their constituents and overturn Gov. Haley’s veto.
This is a watershed moment. If the SCAC does not receive funding, the state of the arts in South Carolina will be severely hurt and the impact felt for generations.”