Update: Click here for info on the rally at Atlanta City Hall on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
Groups such as WonderRoot, Flux Projects, Dad’s Garage, the Alliance Theatre, and the Center for Puppetry Arts represent a wide spectrum of creative activity in Atlanta, but they all have at least one thing in common: Each has received funding from the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, the agency that today faces a 50 percent cut in next year’s budget for arts contracts.
The city’s Contracts for Arts Services program — the branch that awards grants for major arts organizations, community cultural development, projects by individual artists, and emerging artists — has already suffered two years of reductions, going from a $600,000 budget in fiscal year 2010 to $470,000 in 2011. As of today, the City of Atlanta is in the process of finalizing an operating budget for fiscal year 2012 that slashes the program’s funding in half: only $235,000.
According to a budget reduction notice in an email sent on Thursday by Monica Prothro, project supervisor of the Contracts for Arts Services program, this doesn’t just mean less money for everyone. It means that funding will be limited to 30 organizations (not small groups, but primarily the big names), and funding for individual artists and community organizations will simply stop altogether.
What can artists do to help? Get organized and encourage your peers and leaders to join you in attending the Atlanta City Council budget briefing on Thursday, May 12, 2011, to represent the groups who are working hard to advance creativity in Atlanta.
Info for attending hearings:
The Atlanta City Council budget briefing for the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs is scheduled for May 12, 2011 at 9:00 am, Council Chambers, 55 Trinity Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30303. In addition, below are the dates and times for the Finance Executive Committee Budget Public Hearing. Your support for the Office of Cultural Affairs and the Contracts for Arts Service Program is welcomed at the Budget Briefing and the Budget Public Hearings.
Budget Public Hearings (Council Chambers)
Thursday, May 12, 2011 6:00 pm
Thursday, May 26, 2011 11:30 am AND 6:00 pm
Politicians need to hear support for the Office of Cultural Affairs to understand what they are about to cut. Becoming educated about the process is key. (There is definitely a wrong way of approaching these situations that will waste energy and cause the message to go unheard.) Maintaining a presence in the eyes of decision-makers will inform them that their constituents truly care about funding the arts.