The Fort Worth city manager has presented a 2012-13 budget that will cut funding for the arts by a whopping 25 percent. If approved by the City Council, this latest reduction would slash grants to more than three dozen organizations that offer arts programs by nearly 45 percent over five years.
Why does funding for the arts matter?
What can you do to make sure Fort Worth continues to support the arts … supports you, your neighborhood and your city?
Funding for the arts is a low-risk, high-return investment that affects every City Council district.
In 2011, more than 2.6 million people were touched by Arts Council grants to more than 40 different organizations. Grant recipients can be found in every City Council district, and supported projects have included free neighborhood concerts and events, public art projects, in-school and after-school programs and more.
Funding for the arts is an economic stimulus.
The arts provide nearly $85 million in economic vitality to Fort Worth, support more than 3,000 full-time-equivalent jobs, and generate $11.2 million in local and state government revenue.
Funding for the arts improves student education and keeps children safe.
Programs funded through the Arts Council in 2012 have reached more than 300,000 young people through after-school programs, many of which follow TAKS and TEKS guidelines.
Funding for the arts keeps Fort Worth competitive among Texas cities and is already at a distressingly low level.
We may call ourselves the city of cowboys and culture, but Fort Worth already spends less per resident on the arts than every major city in Texas except Garland. In the current fiscal year, Fort Worth will spend less than one-third of what Dallas spends per resident on the arts and less than one-sixth of what San Antonio spends.
You need to act.
Time is short to let the mayor and your City Council member know that you support the arts, that you want funding for the arts to continue and that you vote pro-art.
The City Council will consider the budget again at its Sept. 11 and Sept. 18 meetings. It is scheduled to vote on the 2012-13 budget on Sept. 18.
To make a difference and protect the arts in Fort Worth:
Send an email or a letter to Mayor Betsy Price and your City Council member immediately to state your support for the arts and that you vote pro-art.
Attend the Sept. 11 City Council meeting and identify yourself as being there to support funding for the arts in Fort Worth.
Act now. Keep culture in the city of cowboys and culture.
The 43 organizations that the Arts Council gave grants to last year reached more than 2.6 million people. They brought more than $84 million into the city from visitors who participated in local programs. They helped improve student test scores, keep our children safe, and bring to our streets and communities culture we wouldn’t otherwise have known.
Funding for the arts is a low-risk, high-return investment that affects every City Council district and stimulates millions of dollars in spending by residents and visitors. In addition, Fort Worth already lags behind nearly every other major city in Texas in public funding for the arts per resident — an embarrassment in a city with institutions such as the Kimbell, The Modern and the Amon Carter.
The Arts Council should be funded from the city’s budget to ensure that we remain a city of cowboys and culture.
I urge you to continue funding for the Arts Council for 2012-13.