Thursday, August 13, 2009

Save the Arts! Take Action Now!‏

We need your help! In 22 days, the New World Symphony, and many other cultural organizations, could lose funding that enables us to provide free programs for school children, and free tickets for seniors and local businesses with tourist and local traffic integral to their own economic success.

On September 3, the Miami-Dade County Commission has a difficult choice to make: they will attempt to balance their operating budget in the face of a shortfall in property tax revenue. In doing so, they may cut funding for the arts, and the New World Symphony could lose $430,000, not just for one year, but for years and years to come. Funding from the County enables us to provide 23 free performances and presentations each season, and helps fund numerous free programs, including our Kids in the Concert Hall, for Miami-Dade school children at the Lincoln Theatre. Without this funding, these programs will be eliminated!

An investment in the arts is one of the best investments any grant-giving entity can make. Year after year, national and regional studies have demonstrated a solid financial return on such investments. This is due to the fact that the arts are vital to the success of local businesses (Click here to read about the impact of the arts in Miami-Dade County).

Some important points to consider:
· The arts generate nearly $1 billion in local economic impact annually ($922 million / year)
· Miami-Dade based, nonprofit cultural organizations employ 22,895 full-time workers and generate $648.7 million in annual household income to local residents
· Arts organizations annually spend $420 million and arts audiences spend $401.9 million locally, pumping vital revenue into local restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages and other businesses

All we ask of you is to let your commissioner know how you feel. Write them, e-mail them, call them, and tell them that you enjoy living in a vibrant cultural community, and that our economy benefits from it. We have included contact information for you own commissioners below. Please help us now.

Howard Herring
President and Chief Executive Officer

SAVE THE DATE! The County Commission will finalize the FY2009-2010 budget at the two public hearings both scheduled to begin at 5:01 pm in the County Commission Chamber (111 NW 1st Street, 2nd Floor) on: Thursday, September 3, 2009 and Thursday, September 17, 2009. Please join the South Florida Arts Community at these meetings!

Forward the letter below, inserting your own information or personal accounts, to your commissioner, as soon as possible.
Call your commissioner's office, and let them know how you feel about the vote.
Forward this e-mail to friends and family who share your passion for the cultural arts.

Sample Letter

Dear Commissioner (Insert Last Name Here)

(Potential first sentence for the letter sent to the Commissioner for the district in which you live/vote:) I am writing to you, my elected representative to the County Commission, to let you know of my deep and abiding concern as a resident and voter regarding the County's FY2009/10 budget.

(Potential first sentence for letters sent to all other County Commissioners:) There are critical issues affecting the County's arts and cultural support for which we need your help.

The Mayor's proposed budget cut to the Department of Cultural Affairs is intolerable.

While we understand the need to prune the County's operational budget to fill the large budget gap, we ask that you seriously look at the entire budget and ask yourself how shortsighted it would be to lose important support of the cultural community. Consider the millions of dollars the arts generate each year which would be lost in these reductions. The County's economic impact of the arts study, released last year by the Department of Cultural Affairs, demonstrates that every $1 dollar of County arts funding invested leverages $27 of other private and public funds. This return on investment is remarkable evidence of the effective and worthwhile use of public funds. While $3.5 million is comparatively little in the context of the County's target for overall budget reduction, it is an enormous portion of the County's investment in its cultural life. Cutting these funds will have devastating, ripple effects across the various other funding sources that the County's support helps to generate.

Annually, Miami-Dade's arts industry generates nearly $1 billion in local economic impact, employs roughly 23,000 people full-time, and, in addition, receives the contributed skills and time of 19,000 arts volunteers. Thousands of jobs will be lost if these cuts are kept in place.

County government's leadership and investment in the arts and culture has contributed directly to our community beginning to realize its goal of becoming one of the world's most exciting cultural destinations. The proposed draconian cuts to the Department of Cultural Affairs will disrupt the cultural growth of our community and will cripple our efforts to attain our ambitions to attract business, tourism and citizens who are proud to call Miami-Dade County a true leader in arts and culture.

Thank you for your past support and for recognizing the value, importance and far-reaching benefits of building a great cultural life for our community. I strongly urge you to vote to continue current support for the arts and the budget of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Your Name

Who is your Commissioner? Click here to find out

Miami Dade Board of County Commissioners:

District 1
Barbara J. Jordan
District1 at

District 2
Dorrin D. Rolle

District 3
Audrey M. Edmonson
District3 at

District 4
Sally A. Heyman
District4 at

District 5
Bruno A. Barreiro
District5 at

District 6
Rebeca Sosa
District6 at

District 7
Carlos A. Gimenez
District7 at

District 8
Katy Sorenson
District8 at

District 9
Dennis C. Moss (Chair)
DennisMoss at

District 10
Javier D. Souto
District10 at

District 11
Joe A. Martinez
District11 at

District 12
José "Pepe" Diaz
District12 at

District 13
Natcha Seijas
No email - Fax 305-375-2011

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