Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Support Arts Funding in the District

Dear Friends,

The DC Advocates for the Arts are fighting against the cuts in the local arts budget. Please sign the petition letter below, and ask your networks - artists and arts organization folk - to sign on. Even if you are not tagged in this note, please add your name, affiliation, and the ward(s) in which you work as a comment here [note - this is a Facebook petition - if you comment on Blog This Rock, we will forward to DC Advocates to the Arts] to add your name to this petition. The deadline for signatures is Thursday at 2pm. This is a NOW do this NOW kind of ask.


Rob Bettmann

To: The Honorable Chairman Vincent C. Gray and the members of the District of Columbia Council
From: The DC Advocates for the Arts
Date: July 25, 2009

As has been documented by local and national media, the arts community is in crisis. Now is not the time to cut arts funding. To do so would undermine all of the investments that have been made building the local arts economy over the last thirty years.

The draft FY 10 budget cuts arts funding for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities by 37%, at the same time that private donations and foundation giving are down. Restoring funding to FY 2009 levels would give the arts community the time and confidence to leverage the city's support, and to continue serving the citizens of DC and the millions of visitors who come to the nation's capital each year. The additional money will have minimal impact on the overall budget, but it would provide great benefit to Washington's children and families, and our city's economy.

In FY 2009, the 14 million dollars allocated to the DC Commission supported arts education programming for thousands of DC school children, in every ward. That same investment contributed to city tax revenue by supporting the businesses of artists and arts organizations in every ward. The council would be wise to sustain its support of the arts reflective of the value that we provide on expenditure.

The city has invested heavily in the arts over the last thirty years, supporting programming and institutions. Now is not the time to undermine that progress. The creative economy can be part of the solution to the current economic and community crisis, and we ask you to: return funding to FY 2009 levels and to engage now with the DC Advocates for the Arts in a discussion to define priorities for arts spending for FY 2011. Now is not the time to slash investment that creates revenue, and supports jobs.


Robert Bettmann (Founder, Day Eight, All wards; and Chair, DC Advocates for the Arts)
George Koch (Founder, Artomatic, All wards; Steering committee, DC Advocates for the Arts)
Ava Spece (Executive Director, DC Youth Orchestra, All Wards; Steering committee, DC Advocates for the Arts)
Varissa McMickens (Executive Director, DC Arts and Education Collaborative, All wards; Steering committee, DC Advocates for the Arts)
David Furchgott (President, International Arts and Artists, Ward 2 and All)

We will present this to the city council late Thursday afternoon. The more signatures the better. If you want to really help, write your own note, and tag a member of our steering committee in it so that we track signatures.

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