Fiscal Year 2023 holds the promise of reopening for the arts and humanities sector, the beginning of an industry-wide recovery, and a return to a more normal lifestyle for our art, cultural practices and lives. These possibilities only increase the importance of consistent and clear advocacy efforts that focus on our collective impact, recovery needs, and community value.
Where the Arts and Humanities Stand Currently
County Executive Marc Elirch proposed an 8.6% increase of $492,450 to the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County’s FY 2023 budget allocation for regranting and operation. The proposed increase would take AHCMC from $5,707,506 in FY 2022 to $6,199,956 in FY 2023; definitely good news, but not enough to meet the $7,167,397 in demand for FY2023 grants. We thank the County Executive for his stalwart support, but must request an additional $2 million to meet our community’s needs as we continue our economic recovery.
FY 2023 Arts and Humanities Sector Response + Platform
AHCMC thanks County Executive Elrich for his increased and continuing support for the arts and humanities in Montgomery County, but must request additional funding based on rising demand from the field and the continuing devastation to Montgomery County’s cultural sector caused by Covid-19 related business and event disruptions.
The Advocacy Platform:
Our request for increased support is based on application data and survey responses from the field that inform a dynamic and impactful recovery strategy for Montgomery County’s arts and humanities sector. Unlike many other sectors such as restaurants and retail, the creative industries cannot simply open our doors and expect the same demand we saw in 2019; nor can we reopen without months of planning that a spike in covid numbers easily disrupts and negatively impacts our sales and participation.
In line with grants and services demand from professional arts and humanities practitioners and cultural nonprofits across Montgomery County, we request:
- $2 million in additional funding above the FY22 appropriation totaling $7,707,506 for our FY23 budget.
- $3.5 million per year for FY22 and FY23 from the Relief Fund allocations from the Federal Government’s American Rescue Plan.
The Need for Increased Support
Data from recent surveys to the field and FY23 applications show a 26% increase in demand for FY 2023 over FY 2022 in our sector and revenue losses well over $1 million in January 2022 alone. Additional funding to meet demand and support for a cultural sector devastated by Covid-19 related business and event disruptions and restrictions remains critical. The $2 million increase in demand encompasses FY23 grant applicants and an expanded FY23 grant pool resulting from COVID emergency relief and outreach initiatives beginning in FY21.
Additional Relief Funding is Critical:
Montgomery County received $203,774,467 in relief funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that includes $82 million in currently unallocated funds according to County Executive Elrich. The Arts and Humanities sector of Montgomery County requests $10 million of that funding be used to provide $3.5 million in relief annually over three years: FY 2021, FY 2022, and FY 2023.