ADF Staff & Karen Wells, Arts NC Executive Director
The ADF staff joined hundreds of supporters and enthusiasts from around the state for ArtsDay 2011, sponsored by Arts North Carolina. The annual two day legislative event champions and rallies grassroots advocacy, facilitates effective face-to-face contact with legislators, sets the stage for celebration, strategy and communication, and positions the arts as essential to North Carolina’s economy, education and civic life.
With several other artists and organizations from Durham we visited each of our county legislators, encouraging them to make no more than the Governor proposed 10% cut to the current arts budget. The current level of funding is $6.6 million, only .03% of the total state budget! Here are a few facts that we shared with our legislators:
• The creative industry sustains 300,000 jobs or 5.54% of North Carolina’s total employment.
• HALF ($3.3 million!) of the $6.6 million annual state grant to the NC Arts Council is returned to the state in income tax.
• Arts Council funded projects reach more than 9.2 million participants- with 2.6 of these being youth and children.
• The NC Arts Council matches every $1 of state money with $17 from foundations, individual donors, businesses, and local government.
While the day was incredibly successful in joining the energy and forces of statewide artists and organizations for a worthy cause, just hours after ArtsDay 2011 ended the House General Government released its budget recommendations. They included a 23% cut in the grants program for the NC Arts Council ($1,500,000) and a 15% overall Department of Cultural Resources reduction. While this was certainly disappointing, it is not over. We need your voice to help sustain ADF programs. Please visit www.artsnc.org to find more information on budget updates, the current Call to Action, and how to contact your legislators.
View the video below as Academy Award winning actor, Kevin Spacey, talks about why the arts are so incredibly important to our communities and economy.