Sunday, November 09, 2008

And the budget cut goes to.....

Belated congratulations go to the recipients of the 2008 Dutchess County Executive Art Awards. The awards were presented at the end of October. The recipients are: Wilfredo Morel, Individual Artist Children's Media Project, Arts Organization Electric Windows, Art in Public Places Alice Wong, Individual Patron Bailey Browne CPA & Associates, Business/Corporation Jeff Haynes, Arts in Education Jo Ann Feigenheimer, Special Citation Jonah Acosta, Youth with Exceptional Promise in the Arts.
Right on the heels of this recognition comes news that the budget submitted by the County Executive proposes cutting the Arts Council's budget of the previous year by 68%. Below, I've attached part of a message from Benjamin Krevolin on how interested folks can reach out to the county government to voice their opinions.
The current county budget submitted by the County Executive last week cuts
$200,000 from the Arts Council's allocation. This is a 68% cut from previous
year! This cut threatens funding for artist fellowships, arts in education grants, technical assistance services, promotion, advocacy and a slew of other programs. It could also drastically cut our ability to provide support for programs like Art Along the Hudson or to administer grants which would endanger our ability to bring in programs like the JP Morgan Chase Cultural Regrants. On top of all that these cuts send a terrible message to the public and to our elected officials that the arts are an expendable extra as opposed to the essential human activity and economic driver that it is.
This cut in arts & cultural funding seems capricious (surprise) and is way out of
proportion with other agencies that received cuts. Most of the other agencies are larger organizations and received a smaller cut.
Right now the budget is in the hands of the Legislature. I had a positive meeting
with the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee. The meeting was positive and I think we have an opportunity to reduce the size of the cut. I will also be attending various budget hearings and I may need you all to attend a big public hearing on December 4.
In the meantime, we need you to contact the legislature and inform them how important the arts are to your lives. If the arts are as meaningful as we know them to be, now is the time to let our leaders know.
(Please keep comments positive and non confrontational.) You should send comments to your district legislator (John Foreman covers most of Beacon, but you should confirm that you are in his district.). CC County Executive Steinhaus and the Legislature' s leadership on your comments. Contact information for all those folks is below.
Our petitions will not be the only ones received as there are a number of other organizations who will be asking the legislature to restore funding. We need to show a broad base of passionate support. Please send an email/ fax/ letter to the
legislature as soon as possible.
Please forward this information on to other artists, arts orgs, schools, Art Moms etc.
Your voice will be critical this year.
Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I will keep you posted about the progress of the budget and other issues. We should all remain optimistic until
we can’t be.
Dutchess County
Legislature Contact info and District maps at: dutchess. Legislature/ CLlegislators. htm
County Executive
William R. Steinhaus 22 Market. St.,Poughkeepsie, NY 12601Voice (845)
486-2000 Fax (845) 486-2021e-Mail
countyexec@co. dutchess.
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Roger Higgins
rogerhig@optonline. net
Dutchess County Legislature Minority Leader Gary Cooper
Dutchess County Legislature Clerk Barbara Hugo
22 Market.
St.,Poughkeepsie, NY 12601Voice (845) 486-2000 Fax (845) 486-2021

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