Another month, and things haven’t let up much on the public arts funding front, especially for state arts councils. For last month’s update, try here.

  • Andrew Taylor reports disturbing news for the Wisconsin Arts Board. It now looks like their best case scenario is likely a 66% cut, way out of proportion to what other agencies are looking at.
  • Meanwhile, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has updated its report on state agencies facing elimination or restructuring proposals, and the list has, unfortunately, grown since February.
    • Arizona’s governor Jan Brewer succeeded in eliminating general fund appropriations to the Arizona Commission on the Arts. The Arizona Arts Trust Fund (a vehicle for funding the arts through business tax filings) was reduced by 8%.
    • It looks like the Georgia Council on the Arts will see its funding cut nearly 30%, after suffering reductions last year as well.
    • Kansas is still not out of the woods. Although the legislature overrode the Governor’s executive order eliminating the Kansas Arts Commission, the Governor (who hasn’t signed the budget yet) still has line-item veto power over the arts council’s appropriation. Meanwhile, layoff notices have been issued to the Arts Commission’s staff by the Department of Administration, which reports to the Governor.
    • Two years after facing potential elimination, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is under fire again – the Pennsylvania House Appropriations Committee passed an amendment which would cut the PCA’s appropriation by 68%.
    • While so far South Carolina’s legislature has not gone along with Governor Nikki Haley’s multiple entreaties to eliminate funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, the budget isn’t signed yet.
    • Looks like the Texas Commission on the Arts is going to squeak through with a 50% reduction to its funds.
  • NASAA also published a more general update on state arts agency appropriations for FY12. 61% of member agencies are looking at cuts, with only West Virginia and Hawaii potentially seeing significant increases. Notably, however, 86% of states are facing budget gaps, and 79% of governors proposed major reductions in core public services. (I’m not sure how they got 79% with 50 states, but whatever.)
  • This hasn’t had any budget implications so far, but apparently the existence of the New Jersey Council on the Arts is pissing off that state’s Lieutenant Governor. (PS – the comments on that story are pretty priceless.)
  • Interesting drama playing out in San Diego, where Mayor Jerry Sanders is preserving funding for the city’s Office of Arts and Culture at the expense of (among other things) libraries, recreation centers, and public art projects. Notably, San Diego is the site for this year’s Americans for the Arts Annual Convention.
  • Sigh…

    A Republican lawmaker on Wednesday grilled the chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts over grants to San Francisco mimes and an international accordion festival.

    “Those just kind of grants lend themselves to ridicule,” said Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) at a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing. “These are a bit tough to justify … how can we justify these types of grants?”