Arts Funding Cuts

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Marybeth Foss shows off the latest exhibit at the Lemoyne Art Foundation. It's a bright spot in an otherwise tough week. She learned her art center will lose about $20,000 for outreach programs in the new state budget, and won't get about $100,000 it had hoped to receive for a neighboring educational building.

“We'll have to limit the offerings, limit the class sizes and offerings we had hoped to expand it, the demand is definitely there. So that's too bad,”

Symphonies, ballets, arts and cultural programs around the state have gotten similar bad news. Legislators cut state funding for arts programs by more than 50 percent. Funding for cultural facilities was completely eliminated.

Statistics show at least one of every 10 visitors to Florida spends time at cultural attractions. Rep. Curtis Richardson says arts funding should have been a higher priority.

“It just befuddled me that we would cut off our noses to spite our face by eliminating funding for the arts when that is a tool that we can certainly use to generate revenue for the state.”

But Secretary of State, Glenda Hood, says there were just too many critical priorities fighting for the same dollars.

“We've had a tough budget year and a lot of things we had to not fund at the level we would have preferred.”

Arts supporters say a society is measured by its commitment to arts and culture, a commitment they say fell millions of dollars short this year.

About $15 million in state funding for arts and culture that was funded last year won't be funded in this year's budget. Secretary of State, Glenda Hood, says there may be a silver lining in that the cuts will force arts groups to work together more closely, and look for innovative ways to fund their projects.