Saturday, February 07, 2009

No Pie for You, Either! A Lack of Arts Funding: It's Not Just for Michigan Anymore

And if you are an artist in Michigan (or anywhere else in America), and were looking for help from the Federal Stimulus Package, think again:

Immediate Action Needed to Keep Arts Funding

February 06, 2009—Your action is needed immediately, as $50 million in federal funds for the arts hangs in the balance. The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 is being considered by Congress today, and a growing number of media reports have portrayed the arts funding included in the House version of the bill negatively. Americans for the Arts is calling on all of our members and arts advocates from around the U.S. to take two minutes to send a short letter to the editor to your local media outlet. We've provided the talking points and we just ask you to customize it to your community.

National Endowment for the Arts funds, on average, leverage $7 in additional support through local, state, and private donations, for every one dollar in federal support. Fifty million in economic stimulus will leverage $350 million of investment in the nonprofit arts, which will help prevent 14,422 jobs from being lost.

From ArtServe of Michigan (Saturday, February 7):

As some of you have already heard, yesterday, the US Senate voted to adopt an amendment to the federal stimulus that would bar any stimulus money for arts and culture. Please read the message below from Americans for the Arts as well as our steps of action needed.

Just a few minutes ago, the U.S. Senate voted to accept, by a vote of 73-24, an amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) which states, "None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project."

This amendment, which was supposedly intended to restrict objectionable spending in a few select federal infrastructure programs, will resulted in prohibiting any spending through the economic recovery in these areas. This is the first clear vote on the arts that has occured in the U.S. Senate since July 12, 2000. The Senate final bill passage is still unclear, although it is expected to take place later tonight. Next week they will have a House-Senate conference committee to agree to a final version for the President to sign.

If this is not taken out of the final bill the project submissions that were sent to Governor Granholm would be void. Senator Debbie Stabenow voted for this amendment and we need your help to get her to re-think her decision as she could be vital in getting this language taken out while the bill is in conference committee.

NOTE: I just e-mailed Senator Debbie Stabenow (D., MI) on this issue, who (for reasons I do not understand), apparently supported Senator Coburn's amendment. I also e-mailed Senator Carl Levin (D., MI).

If you value the arts, act NOW.

If you want a piece of the pie, you'd better demand it this weekend.


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