Tuesday, September 1, 2009

With No Budget in Sight, Arts Action is Still Needed

Some innovative ways to attract attention to the proposed cut in arts funding from the Council on the Arts:

As you well know, we are in month 3 of the Pennsylvania Budget Battle with no budget in sight as of today. Pressure still needs to be put on the members of the PA General Assembly by arts advocates if we want the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) funded at the $14 million level for arts grants and at $1.2 million for the administration of the PCA.

We, at Citizens for the Arts in PA, have been thinking about what an "artless" Pennsylvania might look like if funding for the PCA is eliminated or severely reduced. Musikfest in Bethlehem and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art have given us some idea as to what might happen with their organizations if they received a severe reduction in PCA grant funds. Inspired by these two organizations, we are asking you to participate "ArtLess Wednesdays" starting 9/9/09 and continuing each Wednesday until a state budget is passed. Please make a symbolic gesture that will demonstrate the impact of the absence of state support on your organization.

Lots of ideas are being discussed, including a temporary landing page for arts organizations' websites to push the message as well as awestricken for your use. These are is currently under construction. Arts organizations in Altoona are banning together to drape black coverings across their windows that contains a sign statements such as "this is what your downtown will look like without state arts funding" and "would you pay 5 cents per week to keep the arts in Pennsylvania?" Covering outdoor art and window cards in galleries on First Fridays or other gallery walks are other suggestions. Maybe you can organize a quartet playing without instruments in the town square.

We want to spark innovative, creative and artistic action by you and your grantees, either collectively or individually. The purpose is to attract media and public attention to the importance of arts support and to use that to promote advocacy.

If you have other ways to draw public attention to how your communities might be impacted by a Draconian cut to the PCA budget, please share them with me at jlh@citizensfortheartsinpa.org and I'll post them on our website and in this newsletter. We're counting on your participation for Artless Wednesdays. Keep in touch and let us know how you plan to participate. Thanks for all of your help and let's keep fighting!


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