Wednesday, October 14, 2009

From the Chairman of Citizens for the Arts in PA

Since 1966 the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), through the state budget, has been fueling the cultural life of the Commonwealth. Fortunately, for the past 18 years, a robust economic climate helped keep funding for the arts at a reasonable level.

This year, as you know, the nation's economy stumbled, affecting every aspect of our lives. Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, as the only statewide multidisciplinary arts advocacy organization for the last 30 years, kept a steady eye on the mood of the state's governors and legislators, constantly being ready to point out the positive aspects of the arts on all phases of life, both cultural and economic.

This year, for the first time, the PCA faced the possibility of elimination. When the reality set in, citizens all over Pennsylvania began to rally, demonstrating their support of state arts funding through telephone calls, emails, and visits to legislators telling them that the arts were a valuable and essential part in all phases of our lives.

Thousands of citizens stepped up to remind the state government of the need for the arts and arts education. The work was hard and the sacrifices, in time and energy, were many. We were rewarded with a state budget that did not eliminate the PCA and included funding for arts grants at $11 million. We have to be grateful to each other, to our government officials, to leaders in the art community and to all those who realize the importance of the arts.
This is not the end, but a new beginning to recognize that "Advocacy" is not a crisis activity, but an ongoing part of being aware that the arts, and what they represent to us all, cannot be taken for granted.
Thanks to everyone,
Bob Lettieri

Robert N. Lettieri
Board Chair

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