Friday, May 18, 2012

Contact your Legislators TODAY!

Contact your legislators today to save the arts in Louisiana! Here's how!

The time is NOW to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to vote for an increase in arts funding. You need to do it NOW because this is our LAST chance to have funding restored. The timing could not be better for us because of Wednesday's highly successful Advocacy Day in the Capitol! To those of you who were able to participate, thank you! For those of you who were unable to make the trip to Baton Rouge, here's your chance to shout out for the arts! We need you to contact Senate Finance twice: once today and again on Saturday morning.

The Lieutenant Governor will be testifying today in the Senate Finance Committee with Public Testimony being taken on Saturday. Louisiana Citizens for the Arts will have representatives testifying about the need to increase funding for the arts in House Bill 1, the Budget. We need your help to get the message out to the legislators on the committee.

Here's how to do it:

1. First, click here to reach our ACTION ALERT page.
2. Under the first alert -- which reads "Louisiana: Urge Members of Senate Finance Committee to vote FOR an INCREASE in Arts Funding!" -- click the "Take Action" button.
3. On the next page, you'll see the action alert, and as you scroll down, you will see the message to the members of the Senate Finance Committee. School down to the sender information. If you have never sent a CapWiz message, you will need to provide the information requested. Once that's done, hit "send message."
4. Use the "Tell-A-Friend" feature at the bottom of the next page to get your fellow arts advocates involved.
5. That's it! You're done! Remember, with your help we were able to have the arts funding reinstated last year. We need everyone's help again this year to do it again!

What's happening now?
Both the Decentralized Arts Funding and the Statewide Arts Grants programs have been targeted with crippling cuts. In the current bill, all that's remaining for DAF is $1 million and only $959,000 remains for SAG, which represents a 60% reduction in funding levels from fiscal year 2009. Louisiana Citizens for the Arts is requesting that the Legislature restore both grant programs to the 2009 funding level by adding $1 million to each program in the Division of the Arts budget. It is extremely important that you contact the members of Senate Finance to show your support.

Louisiana Citizens for the Arts is urging the full restoration of $1 million of funding to the DAF program to remain funded at the $2 million level. The DAF program supports organizations in each parish on a per capita basis and creates cultural projects with an economic return of $11 per $1 spent in your communities.

Louisiana Citizens of the Arts is urging the full restoration of $1 million of funding to the Statewide Arts Grant program to remain funded at the level of $1.95 million. The Statewide Arts Grants program provides stabilization, capacity building and arts in education grants to our major arts organizations and local arts agencies, with a $28 return per $1 spent in your communities.

How are you affected?
If these cuts come to pass, they will cripple the cultural economic engine and tourism industry of Louisiana. These cuts affect artists, teachers, non-profit organizations, festivals,  libraries, museums, and theatres alike. No community will remain untouched, and the economic loss will rank second only to the loss in social profit, community, and quality of life.

Culture is Louisiana's finest natural resource. We need to nurture and protect it for it to flourish. Now is the time for you to have a voice!

Click here to send a message NOW asking the Senate Finance Committee members to support our request for the increase in funding.

Thank you for your support!