GOOD NEWS! REALLY - GOOD NEWS!!
The state budget, which has been passed in sections over the past three days, contains a $4 million increase in grants funding for the State Council on the Arts.
This is the first increase in four years, and is just a bit under the $4.5 million arts advocates asked for on Arts Advocacy Day in February. See Assembly press release http://assembly.state.ny.us/Press/20120328a/
BUDGET HEARING -- CITY COUNCIL
The first budget hearing by the Council Committee on Cultural Affairs, Libraries and International Intergroup Relations on the preliminary proposal from the Mayor for next year’s funding for the Dept. of Cultural Affairs will be:
March 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM
250 Broadway, 14th Fl. (City Council Committee Room)
Dept. of Cultural Affairs testifies at 10:30 AM
Libraries at 12:00
Public at 1:30 PM
It is useful to have a lot of representatives from the arts listening to the testimony from Cultural Affairs and hearing the various questions from Council members, so if possible, please plan to attend. (Allow at least ten minutes for getting through security.)
Public testimony is limited to 3 minutes, and you should bring 20 copies (back front, double spaced, please) for distribution to the committee members.
Testimony should focus on how your organization uses funds from DCA, what the proposed decrease will mean to your group, and be sure to thank the Council for the long history of rejecting or decreasing the proposed cuts to DCA. It is also useful to point out that the pattern of proposing cuts every year, only to see them completely or mostly restored in late June, is extremely destabilizing. This long standing process prevents planning, and certainly diminishes the likelihood of savings or collaboration with other groups.
If you cannot testify, do not worry, but please contact your local City Council member and arrange to meet with him/her or the staff. It is also helpful to them if arts groups can sometimes do this together. There are many, many arts groups for some districts and talking to all of them is a bit challenging time wise, so anything you do to be thoughtful of their time is greatly appreciated.
RE-CAP OF BUDGET PROPOSED BY MAYOR IN EARLY FEB:
FY12 Original Total Proposed Total Decrease.....................
$153.5 $94.8 $58.7 million = 38.2%
Program Category is decreased from $37.1 to $15.6 million = $21.5 decrease = 57%
CIGs are decreased from $110.8 to $73.5 = $37.3 decrease = 34%
Please keep in mind that all Council “enhancements” are always eliminated from this proposed budget. (The mid-year budget cut is not considered in these numbers; this compares what we started with last July 1 to what is proposed for next year.)
UPDATE STATE BUDGET
Arts Advocacy Day in Albany went well. There were 74 appointments of NYC legislators, and the teams from the two buses also left material in offices for which appointments could not be made. It was very helpful to have assistance from the Harlem Arts Alliance and BRIC Arts | Media | Brooklyn.
The message of ReBuilding NYSCA over four years to a funding of $50 million was well received. There were also many offices that showed a genuine interest in the idea of having hearings and/or roundtable discussions between the arts and the state legislators.
Whether that interest translates into money is still an open question.
What you can do now: Call your Assembly and/or Senate member and ask them to speak up on the conference discussions in support of the $4.5 million increase as step one toward Rebuilding NYSCA. No letters, no emails, just a brief message is fine. However, a lot of phone calls would be very helpful. Especially in the Assembly, where many of our NYC legislators have leadership roles. Their voices can be critical.
(PS. Conference discussions are simply meetings of the members of each party with leadership where they talk over their positions. If there is little support for funding for the arts in those discussions, the need seems less important to the leadership.)
FEDERAL CULTURAL FUNDING UPDATE
President Obama proposed a small increase from $146 million to $154 million for both the NEA and the NEH for FY13. He proposed continuing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Institute of Museum and Library Services at their current levels of $445 million and $232 million respectively. Arts in Education within the U.S. Dept. of Education is zeroed as the recommendation is to consolidate it with six non-arts programs in his proposed budget.
Arts Advocacy Day in DC -- April 16-17. Go to www.AmericansForTheArts.org for more details.
Norma P. Munn, Chairperson
Andrew Ackerman, Children’s Museum of Manhattan Ted Berger, New York Creates Holly Block, Bronx Museum of the Arts
Lillian Cho, Arts Consultant Melanie Franklin Cohn, Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island Jennifer Wright Cook, The Field Susan Delvalle, El Museo del Barrio Anne Dennin, Anne Dennin Arts Management Jenny Dixon, The Isamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum Kathryn Giaimo, Thalia Spanish Theatre Lane Harwell, Dance/NYC Terri Jackson, Brooklyn Museum Richard Kessler, Mannes College The New School for Music Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, Queens Council on the Arts Andrea Louie, Asian American Arts Alliance Virginia Louloudes, Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY Eileen Newman, TriBeca Film Institute Voza Rivers, New Heritage Theater Group Leslie G. Schultz, BRIC Arts | Media | Brooklyn Amy Schwartzman, Attorney & Arts Consultant Bill Scribner, Bronx Arts Ensemble Isaiah Sheffer, Symphony Space Linda Shelton, The Joyce Theatre Foundation Ivan Sygoda, Pentacle Steve Tennen, ArtsConnection Michael Unthank, Harlem Arts Alliance Will Maitland Weiss, Arts & Business Council of New York Dan Wempa, NY Hall of Science