On Wednesday, February 8, director Annie Newman went to Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis. Representatives from 240 arts organizations were present to lobby the Maryland legislators on arts funding. Annie met specifically with representatives of Montgomery County, including State Delegates Heather Mizeur and Sheila Hixson. Annie and other representatives from arts organizations in Montgomery County urged these officials to support the flat budget proposed by the Governor–as our leader, Eliot Pfanstiehl of Strathmore Hall and Maryland Citizens for the Arts told us, “flat is the new up,”–and also to reject a proposal known as BRFA (pronounced “berfa,” it stands for the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act) which would discontinue the Arts Council’s mandated increases for Fiscal Year 2013.
Perhaps you heard recently that the state of Maryland budgeted $36 million dollars this year for snow removal. It just so happens that the arts generate over $36 million in state and local tax revenue, essentially paying for that expense. Arts organizations also support local small businesses and provide more than 11,000 jobs in Maryland. So, we like to think that the Arts are a wise investment. We hope you do, too.
Even if you missed this year’s Maryland Arts Day, you can still support arts funding by calling or writing a letter to your representative. If you don’t know who your representatives are, you can find out on this website. Maryland citizens for the arts also provides a wonderful Advocacy Toolkit when it comes to lobbying for the arts. As Heather Mizeur told us, sometimes it’s apathy, not malice, that kills an action. If you don’t contact your representatives to let them know what you care about, whether it be arts funding or something else, they won’t know!