LEGISLATIVE SPECIAL SESSION AND CUTS TO THE NEVADA ARTS COUNCIL

Here’s a special request from Brian Paco Alvarez. He blogs daily at EnculturateLasVegas about the Arts and Culture in Las Vegas. EnculturateLasVegas should be one of your daily reads.

 

 

 

LEGISLATIVE SPECIAL SESSION AND CUTS TO THE NEVADA ARTS COUNCIL

 

The Special Session of the Legislature begins on Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 9 a.m. Charged to mitigate the budget crisis, our legislators are looking at all options. Extremely vulnerable, once again, is state funding to the Nevada Arts Council (NAC) – public funding that supports the work of artists, arts organizations and educators across the state.

 

The actual agenda of the special session and time for public testimony are still unknown, additional information may be available later on Monday, February 22, 2010. A number of individuals from Reno will represent Nevada’s arts industry at the Special Session.

 

You are encouraged to attend the Special Session in Carson City, whether you speak or not. Just as important is your E-mail to your Senator or Assemblyman or Assemblywoman that clearly and concisely expresses your sentiments about the value of public funding for the arts.

 

Background/Position Summary

  • The NAC sustained a 43% reduction in state funding last session. The agency, as most others in state government, will take an additional 10% cut as outlined in the Governor’s Budget plan.

 

  • A number of legislators understand that further cuts to, or elimination of, the NAC will not solve the budget crisis. Instead it will destroy the work of thousands since the agency’s inception in 1967, and it will deny Nevada its opportunity to use creativity as a road to recovery. Deeper cuts would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of federal dollars that NAC puts to work to support affordable and accessible programs to the public on a daily basis.

 

  • We trust that, after this total 53% cut to one of the smallest of state agencies, the work of the staff and its statewide constituents may proceed and assist the state with creative solutions to current and future challenges.

 

Intent

All legislators understand those facts, and that:

 

  • The arts and arts education are not non-essential services, but fundamental to our lives, our children and our communities.
  • Nevada’s arts industry is – at this moment — providing solutions to our shared economic crisis and its ripple effect on our communities and education system.

 

E-mail Tips

To email – use a powerful statement in your subject line, i.e. (a) The arts are essential to my community; (b) Arts Council funding to {my organization} has an economic ripple effect; (c) [my organization} uses NAC funding to employ staff and/or artists; (d) NAC supports art education for at-risk youth; (e) NAC support has helped build our organization into a sustainable business, etc. Briefly state the value of NAC funding, how you leverage those funds, economic/educational benefits, etc.

 

Talking Points That Focus on The Arts As Providing Solutions Now

  • The arts industry is comprised of large and small businesses and entrepreneurs—the very same business sector that our government says is critical to Nevada’s recovery.
  • The arts drive economies and attract 21st-century businesses to our state.
  • The arts attract quality tourists who stay longer and spend more money.
  • The arts are one of the most efficient and effective reasons for Nevada’s middle class to remain in this state, maintaining homes, paying taxes, supporting businesses and contributing to a positive ripple effect that sustains our state’s economy.
  • The Nevada Arts Council and grantee constituents now provide primary, frontline education programs for our youth in school and, perhaps more importantly, after school. The arts provide that critical link between creative thinking and science, history and other core subjects.
  • The Nevada Arts Council accomplishes all this and more on a sliver of the state budget–three cents for every one hundred dollars. This is a remarkable return on investment.

 

Arts4Nevada.org

Visit Arts4Nevada.org Nevada’s online advocacy center and statewide calendar for additional background, talking points and copies of effective speeches and letters presented by your colleagues at recent Town Hall Meetings.

 

Don’t forget the Thank You

Thanking our elected officials for the work they do is a hallmark of the arts industry. Please continue doing so, by acknowledging our legislators for their many long days and sincere efforts to help Nevada find solutions to the financial crisis we all face.

 

And thank you for all your efforts to insure affordable, accessible arts and arts education programs for Nevadans across the state. Your action has and WILL continue to make a difference.