|LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD! SAY NO TO ARTS FUNDING CUTS!
August 27, 2012
Daniel Stone, Director of Grants
Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County
1300 Gendy Street
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Re: Support for Funding at no less than the 2012-level for Arts Council
On behalf of the patrons, Board of Trustees, and staff of Jubilee Theatre, we strongly support efforts to maintain (or increase) the funding from the City of Fort Worth at 2012 levels. We oppose the idea that a 25% reduction in funding would be acceptable.
As a past and current recipient of grants from the Arts Council (for productions and for outreach in schools and the community through the Neighborhood Arts Program), a reduction of this magnitude, after a similar cut only too recently, would severely erode the support so important to local arts organizations such as Jubilee Theatre.
Fort Worth is internationally known for the arts programs and venues we offer. This is an investment, not only in the quality of life here, but as demonstrated in the recently released study on the economic impact of the arts in Fort Worth, a significant economic development asset. The return on investment for arts funding as a business is robust and growing. A conservative estimate of the multiplier effect would be a 7:1 return on every dollar invested in the arts.
While arts groups continually explore all funding avenues, the loss/reduction of support from the City of Fort worth would be regrettable, damaging, and not in the short or long-term interests of our community.
Stephen S. Braun, Managing Director
We make art happen!
ACTION ALERT – 8/07/12: City Staff Recommends Funding Cut for Arts to City Council
City Council is currently in the budget process for Fiscal Year 2012-13 and considering a recommendation by City Staff, intended to help make up the projected budget gap:
The current recommendation is to further reduce funding to the arts by 25%. Overall decrease of Fort Worth funding for the arts industry will be nearly 45% in five years.
While we understand the City Council has to consider many options in order to discern the best means of reaching a balanced budget, and we understand that that will almost surely mean a reduction in funding to the Arts Council for its programs in 2013, we must be vocal in asking that they explore alternative funding mechanisms for the arts, rather than continued reduction in funding. This continued reduction in funding has had a serious tangible effect on a number of programs which have quantifiable benefit to the residents of Fort Worth.
A recent Economic Impact study by Americans for the Arts shows that the arts mean business in Fort Worth and provide $85 million in economic vitality to our city. Continued cuts to funding will hamper the ability for the arts to provide continued high quality programming serving residents and visitors alike along with loss of jobs and even arts organizations closing. Nearly 30% of audience spending for the arts came from visitors to our area.
Please take a moment to help us put a real face on the consequences of this possible action: Review the points on the sheet which follows and then take action:
Contact members of City Council (contact list follows) and let them know how much you believe the arts contribute to the Fort Worth community and economy.
Thank you for your support of the arts in Fort Worth – past, present and future. Fort Worth is a city built upon cowboys and culture.
Mayor Betsy Price firstname.lastname@example.org
District 2 Sal Espino email@example.com
Mayor Pro Tem/District 3 W.B. Zim Zimmerman firstname.lastname@example.org
District 4 Danny Scarth email@example.com
District 5 Frank Moss firstname.lastname@example.org
District 6 Jungus Jordan email@example.com
District 7 Dennis Shingleton firstname.lastname@example.org
District 8 Kelly Allen Gray email@example.com
District 9 Joel Burns firstname.lastname@example.org
(For a map of Council districts, please go to: www.fortworthgov.org/government/)
We make art happen!
ACTION ALERT – 8/15/12: MAKE THE CASE TALKING POINTS
TALKING POINT: The 2011 Arts & Economic Prosperity study provides compelling evidence that nonprofit arts and culture are more than an $84 million industry in Fort Worth – one that supports over 3,000 full-time equivalent jobs and generates $11.2 million in local and state government revenue.
TALKING POINT: According to the Arts & Economic Prosperity study, there is $13 in ancillary spending by local attendees and $29 per person ancillary spending by visitors attending local arts events. Documented ancillary spending by visitors pumps almost $18 million dollars directly into our economy. Further reduction in funding for the Arts Council’s grant program would most certainly reduce the number of those events produced and the resulting economic impact.
TALKING POINT: The Arts Council’s grant program provides financial support for arts organizations of all sizes and all disciplines. In 2012, volunteer grant panels deliberated and awarded operating support to 33 eligible organizations and 28 received project support. Current, comprehensive guidelines for the 2013 Grant Program Year are online for review at www.artsfortworth.org/?grants/grantapply/.
TALKING POINT: Grant funding is not de facto. Grant panelists may not serve more than 3 years and rotations are staggered in order to maximize objectivity as well as provide continuity.
TALKING POINT: In 2011, over 2.6 million people were touched by Arts Council grant recipient programs. The reach of the arts continues throughout our community In 2012, these programs and have reached over 300,000 young people already – through after-school programs, many of which follow TAKS and TEKS guidelines.
TALKING POINT: The Arts Council works hard to be a good steward of public monies:
* tasking a diverse panel of volunteers with application review and adjudication;
* including a member of City Budget Office staff on each grant review panel for thorough financial statement review;
* requiring quarterly as well as year-end reports from grant recipients;
TALKING POINT: The Culture and Tourism Fund is a special fund of the City of Fort Worth, established in 1989 to provide funding to enhance tourism and promote, develop, and maintain cultural activities in Fort Worth. The Culture and Tourism Fund is supported by three primary revenue sources: the hotel/motel occupancy tax, the Dallas/Fort Worth car rental revenue share and the revenues generated by the Fort Worth Convention Center and the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The Texas Tax Code allows this revenue to be used to encourage, promote, and improve the arts. The Code also allows expenditures for administrative costs that incur directly from promotion and servicing of the arts.
ACTION ALERT – 8/07/12: POSSIBLE SOLUTION TALKING POINTS
TALKING POINT: Every major city in Texas currently provides funding for the arts through the Hotel Occupancy Tax except Dallas and Fort Worth. The current Economic Impact Study and the city’s use of the term “City of Cowboys and Culture” clearly show the impact the arts have on tourism in our city and make the case for the use of HOT funds as an alternative funding source for the arts. Current HOT collections continue to perform well and have exceeded budget expectations for 2012 providing an opportunity for arts funding without negatively impacting partners currently being funded in HOT. The information on the following page shows comparative HOT funding across the state in 2012. Fort Worth’s budget for the arts has been cut 45% since this time.
About the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County
The Arts Council was established in 1963 to provide funding and leadership to stimulate and assure the advancement of the arts throughout our community. Today’s Arts Council is a dynamic, multi-faceted, arts agency serving artists, arts organizations and the community with programs that help shape the arts. Under contract by the City of Fort Worth to manage both Fort Worth Public Art and the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, and grantmaker to more than 40 eligible nonprofits reaching more than one million patrons annually, Arts Council programs have a significant impact on the quality of life in Fort Worth. At the Arts Council, “We make art happen!”
For more information, please contact the Arts Council directly or visit www.artsfortworth.org.
Cathy Neece Brown
The Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County is supported in part by the City of Fort Worth, Tarrant County, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts.
A petition to the mayor and city council members urging them to continue to support and fund the arts in Fort Worth, has begun. Visit http://bit.ly/artsfwpetition and let your voice be heard.