Arts and the Recession, Part 2

With all the budget cutting and newfound spirit of fiscal restraint these days, I’ve been wondering about how the arts will fare come next fiscal year from the state and local government. And of course, it’s also interesting to try to understand how the Prosperity Partnership’s Cultural Access Fund proposal – which was developed coincidentally in a time of prosperity – is received differently in a downturn as well.

On one hand, the need is greater than ever for public support for increased access to cultural opportunities, since nonprofit cultural institutions are struggling to keep the doors open and to fund outreach and educational programs. On the other hand, obviously, times are tough for taxpayers and governments.

So, it’s interesting to see that Portland has found their answer to be a resounding yes. According to their findings, “more than two-thirds of voters believe that arts are a necessity, not a luxury, and 74% believe that dedicated arts funding is necessary, up 4% from 2008. And, another 70% of regional voters are willing to pay $1 more per month toward a dedicated public fund for the arts, despite widespread economic concerns.”

By the way, I love the tagline on their website: “Food. Shelter. Art.” Art as a basic need. It’s bold, clear and gets to the heart of the matter. Great job.

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