State Arts Funding: Good News! There Isn’t That Much Bad News

Posted by Justin Knabb, Feb 16, 2012 2 comments

Justin Knabb

While state legislative sessions are just getting underway in the new year, perpetual campaigning for the election is no doubt leaving everyone already feeling cranky and cynical (or is that just me?).

But take heart, advocates! Despite the cornucopia of GOP candidate positions on public arts funding---ranging anywhere from mild tolerance to total abhorrence---President Obama just proposed an increase in NEA funding!

And on the state level, while some familiar faces are making waves, several states are receiving some great surprises and proposals for steady funding:

Last month, Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) announced the launch of a $3.1 million local-level creative placemaking initiative in July. Gov. Dannel Malloy’s FY13 budget recommends eliminating all direct art support and redirecting those funds to a statewide marketing campaign that would include tourism. The state’s budget office indicates that arts organizations will be able to compete for $14 million in funding with other programs in the DECD.

The state legislature is proposing an increase to Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Cultural and Museum Grants. These grants were appropriated $2 million for the current fiscal year, and for FY13 the House and Senate are currently recommending $3,025,000 and $5,050,000, respectively.

After zeroing out the state arts commission last year, Governor Sam Brownback reversed his decision and proposed $200,000 for the upcoming fiscal year. However, these funds would be for a new Kansas Creative Industries Commission, a merger of the Kansas Arts Commission and the Kansas Film Commission, housed under the Department of Commerce.

Governor Martin O’Malley is recommending level funding for the Maryland State Arts Council (MSCAC) in FY13. Funding for MSAC has remained steady at $13.3 million for several years.

Another level funding proposal comes from Governor Deval Patrick. The governor’s FY 13 budget requests a $9.2 million appropriation for the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The agency is also requesting a $500,000 supplemental appropriation for a creative education initiative. The House will present its budget in April, with the Senate’s to follow in May.

Additional arts funding could be coming to the state after Governor Rick Snyder recently recommended a threefold increase in funding for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. The governor’s announcement comes on the heels of ArtServe Michigan’s release of the Creative State Michigan study that documents the multi-million dollar economic impact the arts have within the state.

After receiving no general fund appropriations from the legislature last year, Governor Jay Nixon is proposing $600,000 for the state arts council. For several years, the council has had to rely on funding through its cultural trust fund, drawing it down significantly. Advocates are requesting $3 million from the legislature for the council.

Arts funding received a $2 million boost for the FY12-13 biennium thanks to a bump in Legacy Amendment funding, but future funding could be in jeopardy as the governor and legislature try to find a way to fund a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

New Hampshire
An early House committee attempt to eliminate the Department of Cultural Resources (DCR) failed, much like last year’s. However, DCR funding must still pass the full House of Representatives, and the Senate. Also in play is an attempt to defund the state’s percent for art program. These measures will be voted on February 21.

Governor Tom Corbett is recommending just over $9 million for the state arts council, level with the current year’s funding. Last year, the council’s budget survived a House of Representatives amendment to strip 70% of its funding.

South Carolina
In her new budget, Governor Nikki Haley once again calls for eliminating funding to the South Carolina Arts Commission. The legislature overrode her veto of nearly $2 million in funding last year, and a similar battle could unfold over the next several months.

2 responses for State Arts Funding: Good News! There Isn’t That Much Bad News


February 17, 2012 at 11:19 am

Thanks for the update, Doug!

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February 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

New York's Governor proposed level funding for the state arts council, but this is after years of declines. Advocates are asking for a boost of $4.5 million to bring the budget up to $36 million. Historic high was in 1990 at $54.3 million. Join us in asking New York State legislators to help rebuild the New York State Council on the Arts:

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