So, here is another commentary regarding the proposed arts funding cuts, this time from Miami Light Project. This is a really important issue for everyone, not just the people in the arts. The cultural health of a city affects everyone.
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Dear Art lover,
We need your help. The cultural community in Miami-Dade County is in serious jeopardy; action is needed today. Michael Spring, Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, sent a bulletin out late yesterday detailing drastic cuts in the Mayor’s proposed budget. Please call and email our commissioners NOW and let them know that the arts support jobs, tourism and a positive image of a progressive city and should NOT be cut.
If these cuts take place, many of the cultural organizations that you love and support may disappear.
Please take a few moments and contact your commissioner telling them to support the arts. A sample letter is featured in this email, please feel free to use this sample, or create your own. We have also included a list of Miami-Dade County Commissioners and a link to a county site where you can identify your commissioner. We urge you to call and email your own commissioner, and email the remaining 12 commissioners immediately. If you have a personal relationship with any of the commissioners, please call them directly.
Please forward this important message to your friends and colleagues. The artistic future of Miami-Dade County is on the line- this is your opportunity to say loud and clear that art and culture is important, and the jobs and livelihood that make up Miami-Dade County’s thriving cultural community are of vital importance.
Thank you for your continued support of Miami Light Project and the arts.
the Miami Light Project staff
Michael Spring’s Letter
Mayor Alvarez released budget recommendations for the County’s FY2009-2010 budget today. This proposal includes substantial service cuts and workforce reductions to fill a $427 million projected budget gap.
If the budget is adopted as proposed, the Department’s budget will be reduced by more than $11 million dollars, requiring the elimination of nearly all of the Department’s grants for cultural organizations. Grants to all social service “community-based organizations” and “mom and pop” small businesses are slated for elimination also. All county departments and services are impacted significantly.
The next step in the budget process is for the Board of County Commissioners to set a preliminary millage rate next Tuesday, July 21. This will determine the degree to which the Commission can address and expand the budget priorities over the coming weeks, before the final budget is adopted. It is critically important to let the County Commissioners know the impact that County funding has on providing great arts and cultural programs and services for the citizens of Miami-Dade County. For contact information for the County Commissioners, scroll down.
Historically, the County Mayor, County Manager and the Board of County Commissioners have been very supportive of the Department’s budget. In previous, difficult budget years, they have consistently appreciated the impact of the cultural industry on the local economy, the importance of culture on the quality of life and the competitive advantage of our community, and have been mindful of the extraordinary return generated by the County’s investment in the community’s cultural assets.
We are scheduling a town meeting in the coming weeks to provide more details on the County’s cultural budget reductions and recommendations. We strongly encourage you to participate in the budget discussions that are taking place from this point on.
PS To see the entire proposed budget, please go to www.miamidade.gov and click on the link “View the Proposed Budget.”
Dear Commissioner (Insert Last Name Here)
(Potential first sentence for the letter sent to the Commissioner for the district in which you live/vote:) I am writing to you, my elected representative to the County Commission, to let you know of my deep and abiding concern as a resident and voter regarding the County’s FY2009/10 budget.
(Potential first sentence for letters sent to all other County Commissioners:) There are critical issues affecting the County’s arts and cultural support for which we need your help.
The Mayor’s proposed budget cut to the Department of Cultural Affairs is intolerable.
While we understand the need to prune the County’s operational budget to fill the large budget gap, we ask that you seriously look at the entire budget and ask yourself how shortsighted it would be to lose important support of the cultural community. Consider the millions of dollars the arts generate each year which would be lost in these reductions. The County’s economic impact of the arts study, released last year by the Department of Cultural Affairs, demonstrates that every $1 dollar of County arts funding invested leverages $27 of other private and public funds. This return on investment is remarkable evidence of the effective and worthwhile use of public funds. While $3.5 million is comparatively little in the context of the County’s target for overall budget reduction, it is an enormous portion of the County’s investment in its cultural life. Cutting these funds will have devastating, ripple effects across the various other funding sources that the County’s support helps to generate.
Annually, Miami-Dade’s arts industry generates nearly $1 billion in local economic impact, employs roughly 23,000 people full-time, and, in addition, receives the contributed skills and time of 19,000 arts volunteers. Thousands of jobs will be lost if these cuts are kept in place.
County government’s leadership and investment in the arts and culture has contributed directly to our community beginning to realize its goal of becoming one of the world’s most exciting cultural destinations. The proposed draconian cuts to the Department of Cultural Affairs will disrupt the cultural growth of our community and will cripple our efforts to attain our ambitions to attract business, tourism and citizens who are proud to call Miami-Dade County a true leader in arts and culture.
Thank you for your past support and for recognizing the value, importance and far-reaching benefits of building a great cultural life for our community. I strongly urge you to vote to continue current support for the arts and the budget of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Who is your Commissioner? Click here to find out
Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners:
Barbara J. Jordan
Dorrin D. Rolle
Audrey M. Edmonson
Sally A. Heyman
Bruno A. Barreiro
Carlos A. Gimenez
Dennis C. Moss (Chair)
Javier D. Souto
Joe A. Martinez
JosÃ© “Pepe” Diaz
No email – Fax 305-375-2011
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