Perseverance Theatre responds to Alaska Governor's Arts Funding Veto
Perseverance Theatre has issued a response to the Alaska government's decision to suspend funding to the arts:
The staff and board of Perseverance Theatre are alarmed by the recent news that Governor Dunleavy has vetoed all funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA). For forty years, Perseverance Theatre has created and supported arts, culture and arts education activities and programs to strengthen and foster the health and well-being of all Alaskans and the resources of the State of Alaska itself. Theatre and all arts contribute to and nurture the creative skills and practical abilities needed for innovation, sustainability, and prosperity. Perseverance Interim Artistic Director Leslie Ishii stated, "What has happened to ASCA is bad news for all Alaskans. We need to embrace and celebrate the positive and impactful effects of the arts in the Alaskans' lives, and ASCA does so much with a comparatively modest investment of state dollars. Hopefully this short-sighted, misguided action will be reversed as soon as possible, so greater harm doesn't befall many Alaskans. We must not forget art and culture drive economic growth and innovation." Perseverance Theatre has been a recipient of operating support from ASCA for many years, scoring very highly in the merit-based grant application process, and receiving grants near the maximum amount annually. Perseverance Managing Director Frank Delaney said, "ASCA has been a key investor in the theatre for decades, and we're proud to have been awarded funds in amounts that reflect the strength and importance of our work. These funds will be acutely missed and will not be easy to replace, but we will fill this hole in our budget if the veto is not reversed. Sadly, there are many smaller, less-established arts organizations and other beneficiaries of ASCA's programs that lack capacity to seek alternative funding sources. Think of all the schoolchildren who will have less art in daily educational experiences, and Alaska Native artists deprived of opportunities for success... This will hurt many Alaskans." Perseverance Theatre stands with all Alaskans who are proud of our artistic and cultural vibrancy, with a success-filled past and tremendous future potential if logic and reason can prevail.
Photo: Alaska State Arts Council grants have supported important new work by Alaska Native artists at Perseverance Theatre, such as this year's world-premiere production of Whale Song, by playwright Cathy Tagnak Rexford (Inupiaq). Photo by Brian Wallace