Why YOU’LL be missed on Arts Advocacy Day

I don’t know about you, but there have been times in my life when I’ve thought, “No matter, no one will notice if I don’t make that event.” But on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, Maryland Arts Day, that thought could not be further from the truth.
On February 2, 2010, The Community Arts Network (CAN) noted that the Obama Administration released its FY 2011 budget request to Congress which included cuts to the NEA, NEH, IMLS and the Department of Education’s Arts in Education program. In a press statement, Americans for the Arts President & CEO Robert Lynch noted (2/1/10), “The Administration’s FY 2011 budget request of $161.3 million for the National Endowment for the Arts–while just a fraction of the $6.3 billion of direct expenditures for all arts nonprofits in the United States–is unfortunately a $6 million decrease from what Congress appropriated for FY 2010. Also, the consolidation of the Arts in Education (AIE) program within the Department of Education’s new ‘Effective Teaching and Learning for Well-Rounded Education’ category puts us at unease and could lead to a diminished focus on arts education.”
At the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, we’re worried that these federal cuts will send a message to state legislators that it’s ok to cut the budget for the arts and humanities. Our anecdotal research tells us that in 2009, many of our large organization grantees noted changes in marketing strategies, program plans and fundraising strategies to adjust to decreases in contributed and earned income from ticket sales, subscriptions, and camp programs. With one exception, all organizations we interviewed reported declines in corporate and foundation giving. Recognizing the current economic situation, organizations noted that they are focusing their energies on maintaining current relationships with funders and not spending limited staffing resources pursuing new relationships. That means that business development is slowing for these organizations and we all know that it takes much longer to grow when you slow development.
So if there has ever been a time that we’ve needed your support to send the message that it is critical to hold the line on the budget for the arts and humanities at the federal, state and local levels, that time is NOW! YOUR presence, YOUR voice, YOUR testimony is critical. Remember,  legislators are in place to serve  their constituents. Our every vote, our every voice counts.
Know that if you don’t come to Annapolis next Tuesday for Maryland Arts Day, you’ll be sorely missed.
We look forward to seeing your face in the place.
Registration for Maryland Arts Day is being handled through Maryland Citizens for the Arts. Visit their website to register: mdarts.org