Help restore Fulton County arts funding!
January 17th, 2014
The Proposed Budget for Fulton County calls for a decrease of approximately $1 million from Arts & Culture. That’s over a 30% cut. Reductions to the 2014 budget of the Department of Arts & Culture will jeopardize the existence of arts services, classes, camps, performances, and exhibitions offered by dozens of large and small Fulton County arts institutions, including Horizon Theatre Company.
Many of you remember a recent budget hearing (August 2013) at which YOU helped us protect these very same funds. It worked in August – the Fulton County Commissioners voted unanimously to restore the funds! But now, once again, our voices need to be heard loud and clear! Arts and culture are an important part of the quality of life and the economy for those of us who live, work and play in Fulton County. The rewards are visible through the hundreds of thousands of children, families and citizens whose lives have been touched, enhanced or genuinely changed by the art these funds have made possible. Let’s remind them of that impact—THEIR impact.
Your voice makes a difference, and the Commissioners want to hear from you. Sending a fax, letter or email to the commissioners expressing the importance of the arts WILL make a difference. The message can be simple – express how important the arts are to you and your family, and the impact they have had on your life.
Here is an email/letter template that you can use:
Dear Commissioner _______,
Thank you for your strong leadership and past support of the arts in Fulton County. Your investment in this growing creative industry is a boost to the county’s bottom line because the arts create jobs and produce significant tax revenue. Currently, Fulton County is home to over 4,000 arts-related businesses which is the fourth largest number per capita in the United States.* While cutting arts funding won’t eliminate the Fulton County budget gap, it will damage arts organizations’ ability to provide jobs and goods and services to the community.
The arts are important to me personally and to Fulton County. (It would help to enhance the plea by inserting your own personal statement here).
The arts have a huge economic impact on our county, generating over $365 million in revenues in Fulton County last year alone* and over $17 million in local government revenue**. Fulton County’s investment in the arts is an effective means of stimulating business activity, attracting tourism, providing cultural education to our children, stabilizing property values, attracting and retaining young, career-driven, artistic and creative residents and businesses and positively impacting the quality of life for all.
I am concerned to hear of the proposed 30% cut to the Fulton County Arts and Culture budget for 2014. I urge you to restore the budget to the 2013 level. If cuts must be made, please do not target the Arts and Culture budget for a reduction larger than its fair share. Fulton County’s support provides access to the arts to a wide range of citizens while also retaining the jobs and programs that contribute positively to Fulton County’s economy. It’s not smart to cut the arts!
YOUR NAME (and address if you live in Fulton County)
*Fulton County Arts & Culture – Economic Impact, Atlanta Regional Commission, 2012
**American for the Arts, Arts & Economic Prosperity Calculator
Fulton County Board of Commissioners
FAX For All: 404-730-8254
District 1 (At Large) Chairman John Eaves
District 2 (At Large) Commissioner Robb Pitts
District 3 Commissioner Liz Hausmann
District 4 Commissioner Tom Lowe
District 5 Commissioner Emma Darnell
District 6 Commissioner Joan Garner
District 7 Commissioner William “Bill” Edwards
Dwight Ferrell – County Manager
Be sure to copy Managing Director Cameron Bean, firstname.lastname@example.org on any emails you send.
UPDATE as of January 24, 2014:
We attended the Fulton County budget hearing at 10 AM on Wednesday, January 22, 2014. Thanks to speeches made by local theatre administrators, students, patrons, and enthusiasts the committee did not vote on cuts to arts funding. Their meeting to finalize the budget is this MONDAY, JANUARY 29 at 10 AM in Assembly Hall, Fulton County Government Center, 141 Pryor Street, SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Arts supporters are encouraged to attend and be visible during this meeting. We will have signs – or bring your own. We need a strong showing there.
Before then, please CALL YOUR COMMISSIONER TODAY and tell him/her why the arts in Fulton County are important to you. Then ask him/her to restore the Dept. of Arts and Culture budget to the 2013 level of $5.08 million. Emails are also welcome, but calls are best. Please sign the petition on Change.org in order to restore $1+ million in arts funding. After you sign please forward the link to your friends!
Thanks for your help. We know you value the arts, so we need your help to advocate for Fulton County funding for the arts so we can continue to enrich our community, provide jobs, and contribute to the economic vitality of our city.