"Arts Day" is Wednesday in Frankfort

by ekramer on February 10, 2009

Arts advocates will meet in Frankfort Wednesday to make their case for public support. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

A group called Arts Kentucky is hosting what has become an annual event with a rally in the Capitol Rotunda and meetings between arts leaders, patrons and legislators.

Jay Dick of the national non-profit organization Americans for the Arts is coming for his fifth Arts Day in Frankfort.

Dick is talking about how the arts benefit economies and how the arts are faring in other states and nationally.

Dick says some of the $50 million allocated for the National Endowment for the Arts in the recent stimulus bill passed by U.S. House would have gone to Kentucky.

“Forty percent of that is scheduled to go directly to the states,” Dick says. “So Kentucky could probably see an additional two or three hundred thousand dollars.”

Last Friday, lawmakers in the U.S. Senate voted to eliminate the $50 million slated for the arts from the stimulus package. Arts advocates are calling for it to be reinstated.

Meanwhile, state governments are grappling with budget deficits, Dick says.

“The new goal for many states and many state budgets is flat funding, that is the new increase. So it’s going to be a very difficult year,” he says.

He says although he has seen many legislators come to appreciate and support what the arts accomplish in Kentucky, he doesn’t expect state funding to rise in this economy.

The economic downturn has prompted state government to cut the Kentucky Arts Council’s current budget by more than 16 percent. Meanwhile, Kentucky Repertory Theatre in Horse Cave is struggling to stay open and several Louisville arts organizations have hiring freezes.

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