The annual attack on state arts funding is under way at the Capitol and arts supporters are urging residents to let elected officials know the cuts are not welcome.
Louisiana Citizens for the Arts, a nonprofit formerly known as the Louisiana Partnership for Arts Advocacy, is calling on Louisiana voters to urge members of the state House Appropriations Committee to restore arts funding, which is slated for draconian cuts threatening to hobble the local, parish-based arts organizations that contribute to our state’s vibrant culture — a culture that has long made Louisiana a preferred destination of tourists and conventioneers.
Louisiana Citizens for the Arts argues that lawmakers and the governor fail to consider the return on investment in arts funding:
Both the Decentralized Arts Funding and the Statewide Arts Grants programs have been targeted with crippling cuts. In the current bill all that’s remaining for DAF is $1 million and only $959,000 remains for SAG, which represents a 60% reduction in funding levels from fiscal year 2009. Louisiana Citizens for the Arts is requesting that the Legislature restore both grant programs to the 2009 funding level by adding $1 million to each program in the Division of the Arts budget. It is extremely important that you contact the members of the House Appropriations to show your support.
Louisiana Citizens for the Arts is urging the full restoration of $1 Million of funding to the DAF program to remain funded at the $2,000,000 level. The DAF program supports organizations in each parish on a per capita basis and creates cultural projects with an economic return of $11 per $1 spent in your communities.
Louisiana Citizens for the Arts is urging the full restoration of $1 Million of funding to the Statewide Arts Grant program to remain funded at the level of $1,959.000. The SAG program provides stabilization, capacity building and arts in education grants to our major arts organizations and local arts agencies, with a $28 return per $1 spent in your communities.
If these cuts come to pass, the cultural-economic engine and tourism industry of Louisiana will become crippled by a severe ripple effect. These cuts affect artists, teachers, non-profit organizations, festivals, libraries, museums and theaters alike. No community will remain untouched and the economic loss will rank second only to the loss in social profit, community and quality of life. Culture is Louisiana’s finest natural resource. We need to nurture and protect it for it to flourish.
For details on how to help save arts funding from short-sighted, short-term fiscal solutions, click here.