Arizona Citizens for the Arts Urges Governor Ducey to Restore Arts Funding to Budget
Arizona Citizens for the Arts (AzCA), the statewide arts and culture advocacy organization, is urging Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to protect up to 90,000 arts and culture jobs by restoring $2 million in funding to Arizona's budget and allocating an additional $2 million from the CARES Act relief fund.
"Based on our poll of Arizona arts organizations, revenue losses exceed $100 million," AzCA Executive Director Joseph Benesh wrote in a letter to the governor. "Though times have changed, our need for your jobs focus has not. The Arizona arts and culture sector needs your support now more than ever."
The governor had originally allocated $2 million in his budget to support Arizona Commission on the Arts grants, but those dollars have been removed. Benesh is urging a restoration of the $2 million and the additional CARES Act allocation for "payroll support in arts and culture businesses."
"Every sector has been hit hard and, unfortunately, the arts sector is facing a second wave of job losses due to 100% cut from the Arizona budget," Benesh wrote "Without economic relief from CARES Act funding to support payroll in arts businesses and/or restoring an equitable share in the budget, more businesses will close and thousands more jobs will be lost."
Because of the cuts in public support, "most agencies are expecting a 15-20% reduction," Benesh wrote, "while the Arizona Commission on the Arts is facing a potential loss of 75% from its budget (of about $4.2 million). This is untenable."
According to well-documented research, Arizona's arts and culture contributes about $1 billion to the state's economy, which then generates an estimated $9 billion in additional spending.
"In truth, the arts sector could really use a $100 million infusion to cover losses and help cover salaries, pay mortgages and provide programming," Benesh wrote. "Please remember we are a frugal, resilient and expansive group of businesses and entrepreneurs."
"What could be better evidence of a return to 'normal' than an evening of live music, someone taking their children to see a play or walking around your neighborhood's galleries and museums?" the letter asked. "The arts are willing to do our part. Everyone needs the arts in their life. Please help us save jobs."
Arizona Citizens for the Arts is using the hashtag #SaveArtsJobs for this campaign.
To support the effort, visit www.azcitizensforthearts.org to find information about how to contact the governor's office as well as members of the Arizona legislature.
For more information, visit www.azcitizensforthearts.org or call (602) 253-6535.