On May 6th the Pennsylvania Senate passed its version of the 2010 state budget (SB 850), which eliminates all state funding for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. While the Mattress Factory and many other arts and culture organizations in Pennsylvania rely on this state funding for exhibitions and program support, this issue is not really about the money.
It’s about the gesture being made by some of our State officials that the arts do not deserve even the smallest level of support. To those legislators who have been vocal in their support for the arts, we thank you and appreciate your continued advocacy.
We are all aware of the global economic situation and how it affects all sizes of companies and organizations. And no one from the Pennsylvania arts community is disputing the appropriateness of cutting expenses and re-evaluating how dollars are spent. However, we are disputing the implied messages these budget cuts send to arts patrons, donors, Pennsylvania residents and the public at large.
The elimination of funding for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts essentially says residents of the Commonwealth can do without the programs and organizations made possible by these funds. Essentially, the arts don’t matter.
The arts do matter, not only in this great state, but also throughout the world. Arts organizations provide measured impact on our both our local and state economies. They are a driving force for cultural tourism and the educational benefits arts organizations provide through state funding are vital.
While the choice to revoke funding for arts and cultural organizations disheartens us (as I’m sure it does you), the budget process isn’t complete. The Senate bill now goes with the House of Representatives' proposal into what will likely be a contentious conference committee before its final passage in the General Assembly. The House Bill (HB1416) includes funding for both the PCA and the PHMC, so it is important for anyone who cares about arts and culture to continue to communicate with their legislators about this issue.
So our message is simple. If you live in Pennsylvania, please contact your representatives and ask them to support the inclusion of a $14M appropriation for arts and culture funding in the FY09-10 Pennsylvania State budget.
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If you’ve already sent an email, make a phone call. If you’ve already made a phone call, ask a friend to stand with you for this cause. With your help, we can speak in a unified and undeniable voice. Let’s stand together for the arts.
|Barbara Luderowski |
Co-Director & President
|POSTED BY BARBARA|
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