By Lanie Rivera
Despite frequent budget cuts for the arts, such as the funding decreases facing the Fillmore Arts Center, the District’s fiscal year 2013 budget increased funding for the arts by 133.2 percent from the allotted amount in 2012, according to this news release from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA).
Although this raise is second to Michigan’s 271 percent increase, the District of Columbia’s $6.8 million arts budget restoration is the highest of any state.
D.C. is now ranked the fifth state for total arts spending, following Maryland, New Jersey, Minnesota and New York, according to this article by Elevation D.C.
The District will spend a total of $11.1 million on the arts.
The summation of all state arts appropriations raised by 7.4 percent; it is both reassuring and inspiring to see D.C.’s arts boost exceeding this increase, demonstrating the community’s high regard for the arts.
Jonathan Katz, the CEO of NASAA, agreed, but he added that this stimulation for 2013 cannot be the end of support for the arts in the District, according to the organization’s news release.
” ‘The recent increase in state arts funding is a welcome and encouraging sign, but the road to recovery remains long,’ he said. ‘Since 2001, state appropriations to the arts have declined by nearly 40 percent, leading to cutbacks in arts programs and services that have been keenly felt at the local level.’ ”
He added that art is an asset to any community, and legislators would be wise to invest in the arts.
” ‘These [art] agencies can help elected officials achieve almost every goal they have: creating jobs, improving education, attracting businesses, rebuilding distressed regions and promoting a distinctive state brand identity,’ ” he said.