The Mayor presented a plan calling for dramatic spending cuts and/or major new taxes, which was rejected by the Metro Council. This leaves the entire Metro community, including Arts and Culture organizations, at a critical juncture with current meager government appropriations on the verge of being zeroed out. The Louisville Metro community is in a difficult situation which requires that we all pull together until a long term solution to our budget problems can be found.
The process and timeline for the approval of the city budget is below:
- The Mayor presented his budget proposal to Metro Council at the beginning of May. This budget cut all Imagine 2020 arts and culture project grants, protected Cultural Pass funding, and reduced the External Agency Funding by approximately 2/3.
- Now, the Metro Council is reviewing the budget and exploring how they might revise the Mayor’s budget. This could include increasing the funding for arts and culture project grants and external agency grants OR they could completely eliminate the funding.
- Many Metro Council members are supportive of the arts. Some Metro Council members are questioning why the city should fund the arts. Some assume the private sector will step up to cover any loss from the city. What we know is that public funding helps leverage more private funding and it is critical to ensuring wide spread access and equity for all in our community and in all neighborhoods.
- Metro Council has until June 30 to present a budget to the Mayor for final approval.
It is time for all of us who are arts and culture champions to speak up to ensure our elected officials know we/you, their constituents, care about the arts and expect our city to continue to invest in the creative assets of our community.
Please call your council member this week or next – early June is key. (Just click here https://apps.lojic.org/metrocouncildistricts/ and enter your home address and your councilmember will appear along with a link to email him or her)
First, thank them for their leadership and service. Ask them to do what they can to protect and in the future increase funding for the arts – for all of our community.
Please ask everyone on your staff, board, patrons, students, parents, and volunteers to do the same. The arts and culture sector has a huge footprint and if we activate our full reach, we can have a big impact!
Below are some suggested talking points.
- Thank you for your leadership and service as a Metro Council member. I am a constituent of your district. I know you are working hard to solve the budget crisis, thank you.
- I wanted to call to encourage you to maintain funding for arts, culture and our creative assets – both EAF and Imagine 2020 project grants, and work to increase the funding for arts and culture in the future.
- Quickly tell the councilperson, how you are involved in the arts and why – artist, teacher, parent, supporter, what impact has an arts program or grant had on your neighborhood, child, other?
Remind them of these important facts:
- Currently, very little is spent by local government on Arts and Culture, making us among the lowest in local funding in the nation, and this funding has been declining for more than a decade;
- Private sector funding for the arts is among the highest per capita in the country – but it is important to have the public funding because this insures the arts remain accessible to all citizens, insuring free public performances regardless of ability to pay
- Growing, thriving, leading cities like Denver, San Francisco, DC, Portland – all have designated revenue for arts and culture;
- It is important that the public-private partnership of support of Arts & Culture be maintained
- Connect with what is important to them and their district:
- Funding for the arts – it is ESSENTIAL, not DISCRETIONARY, for equity, youth development, neighborhood programs and economic growth.
- Arts organizations – large and small – and artists are active in every neighborhood, in our community centers, schools, parks, etc. – in every district.
Ask for their support:
- We ask for your support in maintaining funding for Arts and Culture now
- And we encourage you to find new ways to increase funding for arts and culture in the next few years.
Report back to Christen Boone at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can track the number of calls each Metro Council member gets – THIS IS AN IMPORTAT LAST STEP, PLEASE REPORT BACK!