Slashed state arts funding having huge impact

Posted on: August 2, 2011

In Tuesday’s (8/2) New York Times, Robin Pogrebin writes, “Across the country this is a tough time for small arts groups because state grants have largely shriveled up. Thirty-one states, still staggered by the recession, cut their arts budgets for the 2012 fiscal year, which began on July 1, continuing a downturn that has seen such financial aid drop 42 percent over the last decade, according to data compiled by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. … Nationwide, state aid represents just a small portion of the money used to underwrite the arts, perhaps 2 to 5 percent of total expenditures, according to Americans for the Arts, a lobbying group. Budgets adopted this spring in the 50 states call for a total of $259 million in spending on culture, or slightly more than the yearly spending of the Metropolitan Museum of Art alone. The impact of state cuts is magnified, though, in smaller settings where operating margins are slender and where state money is often used to leverage other public funds or to convince private donors that an organization is worth backing. In Kansas, for example, where a proposed budget of $689,000 was vetoed by Gov. Sam Brownback, groups like the Music Theater of Wichita stand to lose their matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Posted August 2, 2011