State of the arts funds
|By Eric Gallippo|
Local legislators weigh in on governors proposed cuts
By now, if you give a damn about arts funding, you’ve probably already fired off a fiery e-mail, phone call or form letter to Gov. Jennifer Granholm and your representatives in Michigan’s House and Senate, pleading that the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs grant money for Fiscal Year 2010 be reinstated.
Or perhaps you haven’t done anything. State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D -East Lansing, said she hasn’t gotten as many calls as she expected since the announcement that the $7.9 million in operational funds the state granted in Fiscal Year 2009 for arts organizations (which ranked 39th in the nation, up from 50th the previous year) stand to be zeroed out, leaving $1 million for development projects. “Maybe people aren’t as alarmed as they should be,” Whitmer said. “I expect to hear more, frankly.”
In the scope of the
Like Whitmer, state Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing, said she had “huge concerns” over cuts to the arts. “When we look at revitalizing Michigan and getting our young people to come back to Michigan, getting the companies to come here that we want that are the new economy companies … it really isn’t always taxes. It really is the quality of life and the quality of place, and the arts have a huge role in creating that,” Bauer said.
While she didn’t offer any way the state could better save the money than taking it from the arts, Bauer said she hoped that some general fund money could be made available for the arts once Michigan received its money from President Obama’s economic stimulus package.
Byrum said if state funds aren’t available, it would require communities to get more creative in their efforts to support arts and culture, but that the support would be there.
ArtServe Michigan, an arts advocacy group based in the Novi area leading a campaign to oppose the funding cuts, has put together a short list of popular responses (“We need to make tough choices,” etc.) from legislators and suggested return responses to promote an ongoing dialogue. The list is available at www.artservemichigan.org.
Contacting your legislators
Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, District 23 (517) 373-1734 www.senate.mi.gov/whitmer/ contact.php
Rep. Barb Byrum, 67th District (517) 373-0587 email@example.com
Rep. Joan Bauer, 68th District (517) 373-0826 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Mark Meadows, 69th District (517) 373-1786 email@example.com