Florida State Budget Cuts Funding For the Arts and Culture

Florida State Budget Cuts Funding For the Arts and Culture

Arts and culture funding has been taking big hits nationwide and it seems Florida is the next state to face these struggles. According to the Herald Tribune, the state budget was recently approved by Florida Legislature and now awaits response from Gov. Rick Scott.

The budget allocates $29.8 million to four arts and cultural categories, down from $33 million last year. The category that provides program support for 480 non-profit organizations will be cut by 60 percent from last year.

"We know from a number of studies the impact that culture programs have on tourism, both in-state and from out of state, and that type of tourist tends to stay longer in our state, and if they stay longer they spend more money," said Sherron Long, president of the Florida Cultural Alliance, which links arts leaders around the state to raise efforts for greater funding.

"It's just disheartening," said Rebecca Hopkins, managing director of Florida Studio Theatre, which qualifies for $150,000 through the state's Cultural and Museum Grant category. Because of budget cuts, FST expects to receive about $47,550, compared to the $97,000 they received last year.

Because of this reduction, Hopkins believes there will be a negative impact on the salaries she can offer actors and staff, as well as the kind of shows the theater is able to produce.

"Advocacy does work, but it only works when you bring together the numbers and make your voice heard. Every letter does matter, every phone call," she said.

Read the full article here.

Photo: A scene from Asolo Repertory Theatre's 2016 production of Guys and Dolls. Credit: Cliff Roles

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