PA Senate Joins Cultural Groups to Protest Cuts to the Arts
June 7, 2011
House Budget Drops PA to 46th in Nation in Public Support for Arts
Culture is $2B Industry, Provides 62K Jobs and $280M in Taxes -- Cultural Alliance
“Arts are a job creator and an economic engine for the state.” -- Senator Farnese
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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Senators Larry Farnese, Mike Stack, Shirley Kitchen, Jay Costa, Vincent Hughes, Daylin Leach and Representative Tony Payton joined arts and cultural organizations from across Pennsylvania in Harrisburg today to protest the budget currently before the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Speaking on behalf of the state’s cultural community were Julie Goodman-Hawkins, Executive Vice President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance; Judy Linsz Ross, Director of Marketing at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art; and Robert Welsh, Executive Director of Jump Street of Harrisburg.
“This is very important because arts and culture are a job creator and an economic engine for the state and for the region,” explained Senator Larry Farnese of Philadelphia. “This is an asset that we already have here in Pennsylvania.”
If enacted, HB 1485 will drastically cut the granting budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) by 70%, and reduce or eliminate funding to major cultural institutions, arts and music education programs, community development projects and to arts and cultural programs across the state.
“There couldn’t be a more wrong headed thing to do than to cut arts and culture. If you invest in arts and culture, you’ll be investing in our future”, said Senator Mike Stack.
“Do we realize what an impact [the arts] has on the lives of children and youth, especially children who do not have access to such things as the art museum, to the ballet, to art, to music” explained Senator Shirley Kitchen, a mother of five. “Arts groups come into communities, they travel around the state to give children exposure to different kinds of learning, to help them grow into the kind of person that we want to see, so they can find their place in the world.”
The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is community focused arts granting agency which helps stimulate Pennsylvania’s creative economy through several key programs. The budget passed by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives reduces the state’s investment in the arts from just under $8.5 to $2.5 million and lowers Pennsylvania from 28th to 46th in the nation in per capita funding of the Arts.
The PCA supports a nonprofit cultural sector that generates almost $2 billion in economic impact across the state, including support for over 62,000 direct and indirect full-time equivalent jobs. Spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and their audiences generates nearly $130 million in tax revenues for local governments and over $150 million in state taxes.
About the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
The PCA’s primary goal is to “support Pennsylvania’s creative industry in providing cultural services to the people of the Commonwealth,” and its programs have profound impacts on our economy, our communities and the lives of individuals throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Through its Arts Organizations & Arts Programs (AOAP) granting program, the PCA funds organizations such as the Brandywine Conservancy, the Allentown Art Museum, Perry County Council of the Arts and the York Jewish Community Center, and events such as the Mayfair festival, Endless Mountain Music Festival and Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. This funding directly supports thousands of jobs throughout the Commonwealth and thousands more by encouraging cultural tourism. These cuts would hurt the many small business owners who depend on the tourism dollars generated by PCA funded events and cultural attractions.
Another of its granting programs, the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Program (PPA), provides community based statewide grants and supports local arts and cultural programs and projects in every county of the Commonwealth. In the decade from 2001-2010, the PPA program provided more than $4 million to southeastern Pennsylvania to fund programs including art and music classes for school students, art therapy classes that help seniors fight the onset of Alzheimer's, and outreach programs that rehabilitate and give troubled youth a second chance. Southeast Pennsylvania programs and organizations receiving PPA grants in 2010, included:
At its peak, the PCA’s grants to the arts were funded in FY 2007-08 at $15.225 million. In FY 2008-09, this number was reduced by 4.25% due to the economic downturn. In FY 2009-10, this number shrank to $9.5 million and in FY 2010-11, grants to the arts stood at $8.422 million. Those decreases led to the elimination of one of the PCA’s most sought after funding streams, its individual artist fellowships.
The proposed budget currently before the General Assembly includes a $2.5 million appropriation for PCA’s grants to the arts. This represents a cut of 70% over last year’s budget, effectively taking the PCA back to its FY 1979-1980* funding level. (*This number has not been adjusted for inflation.)
The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance is working with Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and its partners across the state in an advocacy campaign to encourage voters to contact their local legislators and to ask them to restore funding to the levels proposed by Governor Corbett in his March 8th budget address. Debate on this proposed budget will begin in earnest on May 23rd.
The Cultural Alliance’s work reflects these key principles: Arts and culture is an engine for economic growth. It has the power to elevate lives. It has the power to educate. We own it, as residents of the Greater Philadelphia region, because it comes from us. It helps individuals come together and grow as a community.
“We have found the money to fund [the arts] at the appropriate level, which is the level that the Governor proposed. By June 30th there will a $600 million dollar budget surplus.” explained Senator Vincent Hughes, “The money is there.”
“Some people just don’t get it. They don’t get the importance of the arts for our community.” Senator Daylin Leach said, “In my own district Theater Horizon and other arts groups are coming to Norristown and are literally changing that city.”
“If we want Pennsylvania to become a destination state, then we’ve got to invest more in the arts not pull back from our investment in the arts.” said Senator Daylin Leach.
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