Arts agencies across the state including Lafayette are marshaling their forces for the annual fight over public funding of the arts. In e-mails sent out this week by the Acadiana Center for the Arts, the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and others, members are being warned about major cuts to Decentralized Arts Funding and Statewide Arts Grants, two state-funded programs that disburse millions of dollars annually to arts councils, cultural non-profits and individual artists both rural and urban.

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s budget seeks a $1 million dollar reduction in funding for DAF and another $1 million cut to SAG. Both DAF and SAG received just under $2.5 million in funding in 2009; the proposed cuts represent a 41 percent funding reduction. According to the Louisiana Parnership for Arts Advocacy:
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.
LPAA is urging state residents to log on to its Web site and send a message to members of the House Appropriations Committee, which met for the first time Thursday ahead of the session’s commencement on March 29.

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