Budget Proposal Severely Reduces Funding to Arts & Culture

70% Cut to PCA Budget Would Cost Jobs and Hurt Communities

May 12, 2011
Karim Olaechea
Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance
karimo@philaculture.org; 215-399-3518

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania -- The budget proposal currently before the Pennsylvania General Assembly, if enacted, would reduce or eliminate funding to major cultural institutions, arts and music education programs, community development projects and to arts and cultural programs across the state. The cuts would amount to a 70% reduction to the granting budget of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), which helps stimulate Pennsylvania’s creative economy through several key funding programs.

In FY 2010-11, the Commonwealth’s funding for the arts through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts totalled just under $8.5 million. This funding from the Commonwealth supports a nonprofit cultural sector that generates almost $2 billion in economic impact across the state, including support for over 62,000 direct and indirect full-time equivalent jobs. Spending by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and their audiences generates nearly $130 million in tax revenues for local governments and over $150 million in state taxes.

“Arts and culture benefit every Pennsylvanian by creating jobs, growing our tax base and educating our children.” commented Tom Kaiden, President of the Cultural Alliance. “Arts and culture provide taxpayers with a huge return on a minimal investment.”

FY 2009-10 FY 2010-11 Corbett
FY 2011-12
FY 2011-12
Council on the Arts
$982,000 $895,000 $895,000 $500,000
Council on the Arts
$9,500,000 $8,422,000 $8,262,000 $2,500,000

The PCA’s primary goal is to “support Pennsylvania’s creative industry in providing cultural services to the people of the Commonwealth,” and its programs have profound impacts on our economy, our communities and the lives of individuals throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Through its Arts Organizations & Arts Programs (AOAP) granting program, the PCA helps fund organizations such as the Brandywine Conservancy, the Allentown Art Museum, Perry County Council of the Arts and the York Jewish Community Center, and events such as the Mayfair festival, Endless Mountain Music Festival and Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. This funding directly supports thousands of jobs throughout the Commonwealth and thousands more by encouraging cultural tourism. These cuts would hurt the many small business owners who depend on the tourism dollars generated by these events and cultural attractions.

Another of the PCA’s granting programs, the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Program (PPA), provides community based statewide grants and helps fund local arts and cultural programs and projects in every county of the Commonwealth. These grants fund programs that impact individuals and communities, including art and music classes for school students, art therapy classes that help seniors fight the onset of Alzheimer's, and outreach programs that rehabilitate and give troubled youth a second chance. The proposed cuts would deprive thousands of people access to these essential programs, and could have grave impacts on the lives of individuals and communities across the state.

Southeast Pennsylvania programs and organizations receiving PPA grants in 2010, included:

Youth Orchestra of Bucks County’s Master Class Series - a music educational project that provided direct instruction to music students in grades 3-12.

Kennett Area Senior Center’s Living History Storytelling Project - an acting therapy program that helps seniors revive their memories, strengthen mental and physical abilities, and develop coping skills through acting exercises.

Oasis - classes and workshops to adults and children in who are marginalized as a result of mental illness and/or retardation.

Music For All Seasons, Inc. - a series of professional, therapeutic, and interactive musical programs for children living in Philadelphia domestic violence shelters.

Positive Aging in Lower Merion (PALM) - a weaving class taught by an occupational therapist and specifically designed for the physically and vision impaired.

Art for Justice’s Road Map for Life Workshop - an arts program that also provides life skills training for twelve high risk youth.

Liveconnections.org - an educational music program that brings together three musicians from different backgrounds with traditionally underserved students from the Freire Charter School at WXPN’s World Café Live.

University City Arts League - pottery lessons as part of an after-school program where students learn new skills, develop creativity, gain confidence and create unique pieces of art.

Over the past two fiscal years, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, has seen a 46% decrease in its grants to the arts line item. This line item enables the PCA to broaden the availability of the arts to residents across the state through a combination of several granting programs to individual artists and arts organizations.

At its peak, the PCA’s grants to the arts were funded in FY 2007-08 at $15.225 million. In FY 2008-09, this number was reduced by 4.25% due to the economic downturn. In FY 2009-10, this number shrank to $9.5 million and in FY 2010-11, grants to the arts stood at $8.422 million. Those decreases led to the elimination of one of the PCA’s most sought after funding streams, its individual artist fellowships.

The proposed budget currently before the General Assembly includes a $2.5 million appropriation for PCA’s grants to the arts. This represents a cut of 70% over last year’s budget, effectively taking the PCA back to its FY 1979-1980* funding level. (*This number has not been adjusted for inflation.)

The Cultural Alliance is working with Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and its partners across the state in an advocacy campaign to encourage voters to contact their local legislators and to ask them to restore funding to the levels proposed by Governor Corbett in his March 8th budget address. Debate on this proposed budget will begin in earnest on May 23rd.

About Us
The Cultural Alliance’s mission is to make Greater Philadelphia one of the foremost creative regions in the world. The Cultural Alliance believes that Greater Philadelphia grows stronger and more vibrant by growing its arts and culture. The Alliance’s work promotes that mission through initiatives that leverage arts and culture to inspire individuals and build community and civic engagement. These efforts include connecting cultural resources to community needs; providing direct services for nonprofit cultural organizations; leading cultural research, advocacy and policy work; and producing direct marketing programs for cultural consumers.

The Cultural Alliance’s work reflects these key principles: Arts and culture is an engine for economic growth. It has the power to elevate lives. It has the power to educate. We own it, as residents of the Greater Philadelphia region, because it comes from us. It helps individuals come together and grow as a community.

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