Thursday, July 16, 2009

Art Lovers: Miami Needs Your Help

Miami's mayor yesterday released the FY2009-20010 budget and it includes cuts and workforce reductions to fill a $427 million projected budget gap. Should this budget be adopted, it will require the elimination of nearly all of the Department's grants for arts and cultural organizations. "Grants to all social service community-based organizations and mom and pop small businesses are slated for elimination also," according to Michael Spring, Director of the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

Here's what's happening next in the budget process: the Board of County Commissioners will meet on July 21st to determine what can be expanded before the final budget is adopted. So, what can you do? Reach out to your county commissioner. Tell them how important fostering art is for our community! Call or write a letter! Let your voice be heard. Find your county commissioner and their contact information here and here.

Here's a sample letter to make e-mail writing easier:

Dear Commissioner [Commissioner's Last Name here. Be sure to spell it right!],

I am very concerned about the proposed cut to the county arts budget. Your past support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs has helped make the arts a Miami-Dade County staple.

The proposed more than $11 million cut to the Department of Cultural Affairs would have an enormous detrimental effect on Miami-Dade County. Our arts organizations, from small to large, contribute greatly to the economy of our region. Just the loss of jobs resulting from this proposal will be huge, let alone the impact on tourism and the general economic and cultural health of our community. Thousands and thousands of jobs and services would disappear overnight. Tourists would be left with little to do and Miami would retreat to an image that all of us have fought hard to change.

I strongly urge you to vote to continue current support for the arts and community-based organizations.


[Your Name]
[Your address]

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