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    Lend your voice to the DC Council to increase arts funding!

    Deep Thoughts from the Director April 8th, 2013 By Amy Saidman

    April 9th is the National Arts Advocacy Day and on that day, we will let the Council members know that we need them to increase the Mayor’s budget for the arts. SpeakeasyDC has applied for eight grants this year and has yet to receive any funding from the city despite the fact that we were one of five nominees for the 2012 Mayor’s Arts Award for Innovation in the Arts. There’s just not enough money to go around and we could do SO much with more support from the city. And the same is true for other great arts organizations that contribute to the vitality of this city. Councilmember Evans has a proposal on the table for $20 million to go into the DCCAH’s budget this year but needs the support of the other Councilmembers for this to happen.

    Below are ways you can make a difference:

    1. Please send the letter below to the Council members at 10:00 AM on April 9th. Mass emails sent at the same time make a statement, but send anytime you can.
    2. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 24th the day of our Budget Hearing for the DCCAH before Councilmember Evans' Committee, Revenue and Finance. Details about registering for the hearing will be sent to you soon. Let’s storm the place!

    Councilmember Email Addresses

    Phil Mendelson (Chairman) Anita Bonds (At-Large)
    David Grosso (At-Large) David Catania (At-Large)
    Vincent Orange (At-Large) Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5)
    Jim Graham (Ward 1) Jack Evans (Ward 2)
    Mary Cheh (Ward 3) Muriel Bowser (Ward 4)
    Tommy Wells (Ward 6) Yvette Alexander (Ward 7)
    Marion Barry (Ward 8)  

     

    Sample Letter

    Dear Councilmember (Add Name of Councilmember): Please approve the full funding request of $20 million for the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH). The arts economic impact in the District of Columbia is over $1.1 billion. This request is for a small percentage of those funds to insure that DC can continue to serve as an arts-infused, arts-empowered, arts-destination city. To preserve the arts and the humanities is to preserve one of the District’s greatest economic engines and makes our city a world-class cultural arts destination.

    The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities has received mandates to work on initiatives that will insure permanent space for arts organizations. The funding that the DCCAH grants arts organizations:

    • generates significant income to the city;
    • represents tens of thousands of jobs;
    • provides a unique and effective conduit to life-long learning and healthcare;
    • ensures that students graduate ready to succeed in the workplace
    • provides opportunities to reduce crime; and
    • provides a quality of life for current and new District residents.

    The economic down-turn; the reduction in federal funds, and the reduction of foundation funding to the arts has been devastating. DC Arts and cultural organizations’ programs provide critically needed access to the arts and humanities, especially for our public school students. The support of the DCCAH helps to sustain arts and cultural programs in the District of Columbia.

    Funding the DCCAH budget to $20 million will assist in restoring local grants funding to levels that reflect the importance of these assets to the city.

    We depend on your support.

    Sincerely,

    Your name, title and organization

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