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Reinvented Arts Congress Connects Legislators, Arts Organizations Through Online Meetings

The big-picture goal of the effort is to raise awareness and support for baseline funding in the state budget.  

Reinvented Arts Congress Connects Legislators, Arts Organizations Through Online Meetings

With its sights set on a $5 million allocation for the arts in the state's budget for Fiscal Year 21-22, Arizona Citizens for the Arts has "reinvented" the annual Arts Congress day of advocacy with online meetings with legislators and arts organizations across the state during the week of Feb. 22-26.

"We have been coordinating with 90 different legislators and dozens of arts organizations to set up meetings," said Arizona Citizens for the Arts Executive Director Joseph Benesh. "We have lined up Zoom meetings for each of the state's 30 legislative districts. Most will be broadcast from a local arts organization with Arizona Citizens for the Arts hosting the technology. Arts organizations hosting the meetings will kick them off by sharing their stories."

Organizations hosting the online meetings include Prescott Center for the Arts (District 1), Arizona Theatre Company (District 3), Lake Havasu Museum of History (District 5), Flagstaff Arts Council (District 6), Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum (District 11), Henry F. Hauser Museum (District 14), Scottsdale Philharmonic (District 15), Sun Lakes Community Theatre, Inc. (District 17), Chandler Children's Choir (District 18), Theater Works (District 21), Free Arts for Abused Children (District 24), i.d.e.a. Museum (District 25), Childsplay (District 26), and Black Theatre Troupe (District 24).

The full schedule of meetings in each district can be found on the Arizona Citizens for the Arts website. Once an individual is registered for Arts Congress, a link to specific district meetings will be sent. To find which district you are in, go here.

Benesh said the big-picture goal of the effort is to raise awareness and support for baseline funding in the state budget.

"Each year, the arts is funded as a one-time allocation and this is simply not viable for the businesses producing amazing arts and culture in Arizona, and it hampers their ability to serve their communities," he added.

Between April and July 2020, Arizona's creative sector lost 46,948 jobs for an aggregated revenue loss of $1.7 billion. Benesh said that states across the country have allocated additional funding during the pandemic to support arts sectors in states including Indiana ($10 million), Ohio and Pennsylvania ($20 million each) and Oregon ($50 million).

He said this funding in Arizona would help reopen arts-and-culture related businesses forced to close; rehire artists and support staff; strategically plan for the future and attract and maintain private partnerships in service to Arizonans.

For more information about Arizona Citizens for the Arts, go to www.azcitizensforthearts.org.


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