Hello, everyone. Last week I was at a special meeting with Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA). There, I learned a few things about arts funding in the state. Learned, too, about this advocacy opportunity that I thought I'd share here on First Person Plural. Consider printing the following letter out, signing it, and sending it as soon as you can to the Governor. He's a wonderful supporter of the arts (I understand he's in a band; we should get them to play at Story/Stereo!). But with this letter show him how much we all support the arts here in Maryland. You can view the letter also on MCA's Web site.
The Honorable Martin O'Malley
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD 21401-1925
Dear Governor O'Malley:
Thank you so much for your strong support of the State Arts Council budget this past year. Arts employees, Board members, and volunteers are both relieved and appreciative that the amount allocated to the Maryland State Arts Council was not reduced in the last round of budget cuts announced on November 18th. I want to thank you for once again recognizing the importance of the arts to the people of Maryland. As you can imagine, the funding organizations receive from the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) is vital to their current programs and future plans. Arts patrons and supporters are also incredibly thankful for your continued support since ultimately, they benefit most from your promotion of the arts.
In the coming weeks, I understand that decisions will be made on the FY 2011 budget you will submit to the General Assembly at the 2010 Legislative Session. During the 2009 Legislative Session, the Maryland State Arts Council's FY 2010 budget was reduced from $16.5 million to $13.5 million, and that amount was fixed at that same level for FY 2011 in the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act (BRFA). We respectfully ask that you please keep the MSAC's funding for FY 2011 at the FY 2010 level of $13.5 million, as delineated in the BRFA.
As you know, the vast majority of the $13.5 million slated for the MSAC is distributed across Maryland in the form of grants to organizations facing significant challenges due to the economic slowdown. Even the most fiscally diversified organizations are being hit with substantial decreases from most or all of their revenue streams. All organizations rely heavily on the MSAC grants as a stable source of income that is helping them get through the recession.
Again, thank you very much for your strong leadership in supporting the arts through this economic crisis.
CC: Mr. Matt Gallagher, Chief of Staff
Mr. Christian Johannsen, Secretary, DBED
Ms. Hannah Byron, Assistant Secretary, DBED
Ms. Eloise Foster, Secretary, DBM