Arts funding eliminated in Cincinnati city budget proposal
Facing a $51.5 million budget shortfall, the City of Cincinnati is slated to lose all funding for the Arts in 2010, if a budget proposed by city manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. is adopted.
Required by law to balance budgets, the city is forced to draw down expenditures as tax revenues continue to decline. Last year the city experienced a $28 million deficit which forced sharp budget reductions.
The proposed budget (page 19) tersely illustrates the cuts: "14. There is no arts funding budgeted in 2010."
The elimination of arts funding saves the city $35,000 over the prior year, which amounts to a paltry 0.0679% (roughly seven one-hundredths of one percent) of the anticipated budget shortfall, and 0.003% (three one-thousands of one percent) of the anticipated $1.2 billion budget for the year.
While tough times demand tough choices, it's the opinion of GrooveRiver.com that arts funding in the City of Cincinnati need not be wholly eliminated when doing so impacts the budget in such a minuscule way. In fact, considering the pittance that arts funding represents in the city budget, it might serve the city well to increase arts funding, improving the number of arts-related activities in the core of the city, thus increasing sales tax revenues.
You can make your voice heard by attending one of several budget hearings and voicing your concern. Signage in support of arts funding enhance visibility.
Below are some tips from arts activist Kristin Dietsche on how to encourage council members to increase funding for the arts:
1. Attend a budget hearing. You don't have to be a politician or gifted public speaker. Sign up to speak as soon as you arrive--make sure you list "arts grants" as your issue. MAKE A BIG SIGN TO HOLD.
When you speak:
You'll just have one or two minutes. Introduce yourself, your neighborhood and any arts organization affiliation you might have. Say you value the ARTS GRANT program.
You can talk briefly about why you value publicly funded arts, or a specific past grant recipient that has added to the quality of your life in Cincinnati -- this would include big organizations Art Museum, Symphony, Opera, Ballet, Playhouse, small organizations like Know Theatre, Cincinnati Shakespeare, and the Westin Gallery, plus individual artists in all disciplines (funded in 2009, but these grants are not budgeted for 2010).
The arts are crucial to our quality of life, and we want our City to help our cherished arts organizations through times of economic crisis so they don't vanish forever.
2. Mail letters and postcards to the Mayor and Members of Council. US Mail is more powerful than email. Handwrite your message, send an art card to members of council and the Mayor.
3. Contact council via email. If you have just a little time, send emails to the Mayor and Members of Council. Make sure "ARTS GRANTS" is in your subject line. Remember our goal is to show the Mayor and Council that there are a lot of people who value City Funding of the Arts.
4. Contact your friends. There is great power in the masses!
Two Minute Activism
2 Minute Activism: Cut and paste the following text into an email
10 min Activism: Personalize your email or target an individual member of council with a message directed at him/her
To: Roxanne.Qualls@cincinnati-oh.gov, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Save Arts Grants in 2010 Budget
Please include Arts Grants in the 2010 Budget. Eliminating city support for the arts reverses a 20-year commitment to valuing the arts as a public asset at a time when our cherished cultural institutions are most at risk.
I strongly value the arts in our city and believe that my tax dollars should go to sustaining them.
Your Neighborhood and arts affiliation (if you do not live in the City of Cincinnati, please refer to a city arts organization that you value or maybe you are a member of.
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