Saturday, June 06, 2009

Save funding for the Illinois Arts Council

Last week I attended the One States Arts Conference in Peoria. It was both an energizing and sobering experience. There was plenty of excitement and new ideas, but unfortunately also a major funding crisis right on the horizon. If you are from Illinois, please read the following letter from Ra Joy, the head of the Illinois Arts Alliance, and contact your state legislators immediately. Clicking on this link will get you to a site that will help you identify your legislators.
"State funding for the Illinois Arts Council will drop to $6.4 million, an unconscionable 75 percent cut from FY2009, unless the General Assembly acts to pass a responsible budget. Per capita state spending for the arts in Illinois will plummet from approximately $1.17 per person to a near national low of $.49 per capita.

We must act now to send a powerful message to our elected officials and legislative leaders. There is less than a month before the new fiscal year begins and these devastating cuts take effect. Here's what we need you to do:

Thank legislators who showed leadership by supporting full funding for the arts and encourage them to work with their colleagues to pass a responsible budget. Urge other lawmakers to step up and negotiate a comprehensive, responsible budget that protects our investment in the arts
We've made it easy for you to take action. Just enter your address and the appropriate message will appear. Thoughtful, customized communications are more effective than form emails and petitions. And take a moment to personalize your message by sharing what the arts mean to you and your community.

When the legislative session came to a close on May 31, lawmakers failed to pass a responsible budget that addresses Illinois' multibillion dollar deficit. Instead they passed a bare bones budget that makes catastrophic cuts to the arts as well as K-12 and higher education, childcare, college scholarships, health care, public safety, transportation, and local government.

This "doomsday" scenario would decimate the arts infrastructure in Illinois and put artists and cultural organizations at extreme risk.

Act now and urge your elected officials to protect the arts by passing a responsible state budget.

Many thanks for all you do,

Ra Joy
Executive Director
Illinois Arts Alliance"

The arts are in dire need on a national level as well. In last week's
Time magazine there was an article titled "The Culture Crunch" and it pointed out that "For arts groups in tough times, there's no bailout in sight."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jim, for sharing our action alert.

If anyone needs assistance with their advocacy efforts, they can contact me at the email and number below.

Scarlett Swerdlow
Illinois Arts Alliance
312-855-3105 x13