Back in August, I posted a round-up of the struggles that various state arts councils were going through this year. The upshot is that a large number of agencies have experienced shocking declines in their state appropriations, in some cases totaling 50% or more of the previous year’s budget. (More information can be found at the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’s most recent report, dating from July 1.) At that time, most of the damage was already done–this is the quiet season for appropriation battles–but a few dramas were still ongoing. So, to continue what I hope will become a more regular feature, I’ve followed up on some of the stories from the previous entry and added a new one below.

CONNECTICUT
The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism ended up surviving, but not before sustaining a 38% cut from the state. To quote from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s excellent coverage:

The State Budget approved by the Legislature late on Aug 30th, reduced the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism budget from $28.8 million to slightly over $18 million for both FY 10 & FY 11. This represents approximately a 38% reduction in funding. The biggest reductions were to Statewide Marketing, which received only $1 and funding for Tourism districts which were reduced to $350K from $850K. Both CCT grant accounts (Basic Cultural Resources and Culture, Tourism and Arts), from which operating support, arts projects, and arts education grants are made, were reduced. This budget became law without Gov. Rell’s signature.

HAWAII
Things have not been looking too rosy for the arts in Barack Obama’s birth state, as Governor Linda Lingle has ordered the layoffs of 10 employees from the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts–including the executive director, Ron Yamakawa. Arts advocates claimed the loss of Yamakawa could make Hawaii’s arts council ineligible for federal assistance, which led to the reinstatement of his position. The cut staff positions would save about $500,000; it doesn’t sound like corresponding cuts to the grant programs have been proposed. Hawai’i Arts Alliance is on top of the latest developments here.

MICHIGAN
It looks like Governor Granholm’s executive order dissolving the Department of Art, History and Libraries and moving the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) under the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Fund survived lawmaker Cameron Brown’s challenge. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad, but on top of that the Council’s funding received a brutal cut of 71%, potentially hobbling the agency for years to come. I know things are bad for everyone in Michigan, but seriously, 71%?

PENNSYLVANIA
Oh, Pennsylvania. I stated in my previous update that the Keystone State was providing the most drama of all, and subsequent months did not disappoint. After a furious back and forth that began with the elimination of the state arts council on the table and almost saw the state sales tax imposed on tickets to performing arts events and museum admissions (but not sports games or movie theaters), the dust finally settled in October with the arts taking a body blow but remaining standing. The sales tax was averted, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts sustained a 27% loss in support, from $16.5 million down to $12 million counting both administrative and grant funding. The incomparable Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has all of the gory details.