Indiana Advocates: Cut to Arts Hurts Economy

by ekramer on June 10, 2009

As Indiana legislators prepare to convene tomorrow for a special session, arts advocates are criticizing the large cut Gov. Mitch Daniels has proposed for the state’s arts agency. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

Gov. Daniels called the session to pass a budget after legislators failed to do so during Indiana’s recent General Assembly.

The budget Daniels presented last week cuts funding to the Indiana Arts Commission by 50 percent. During the regular session, many legislators had supported an 8 percent cut, which was similar to cuts made to other state agencies.

Sally Gaskill is with the Indiana Coalition for the Arts. She warns the cut would harm arts groups and the economy.

“Many jobs would be lost — not only staff jobs of local arts organizations but also jobs of printing companies and other kinds of enterprises that rely on the arts to be a part of their revenue source,” Gaskill says.

Gaskill says the cut is very worrisome because the recession has already meant loss of revenues and philanthropic and corporate support to arts groups.

“Any time that there’s such a draconian cut, it’s not going to be pretty,” Gaskill says, “particularly in this economy when arts institutions are making cuts anyway, because there simply aren’t other sources of support.”

Gaskill say the cut would especiall hurt people who work in the arts.

“The outcome of that would be frankly devastating to artists and arts organizations throughout the state,” she says. “There would be much, much less funding to go around in a state that’s already frankly on the lower end of per capita support.”

A January report from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies ranked Indiana 43rd in funding its arts agency on a per capita basis. The report ranked Kentucky at 30.

More information about state arts funding is on the WFPL’s blog, The Edit.

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