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Arts commission asks state lawmakers for more money

PHOENIX — Advocates for the arts in Arizona went the state capitol Tuesday to ask legislators for more money.

They are asking state lawmakers to appropriate $2-million for the fund grants programs sponsored by the Arizona Commission of the Arts. The grants deliver culture to communities all over the state.

The Commission has received $1 million each year in funding for the past two years. But, so far, there’s nothing in the budget for this year.

“That will mean that grants to arts organizations that are funded by the Arizona Commission of the Arts will be cut by 50 percent, said Rusty Foley, the executive director of Arizona Citizens for the Arts. She said the funding the arts helps the state’s economy.

“We know from our research that for every dollar that you invest in a non-profit arts organization, it returns $1.50 to our local economy,” Foley said.

Foley said contributions from the public are also down, alongside grant funding, which is down about 75 percent since 2008. Both immensely hurt arts programs in Arizona.

“That money allows arts organizations to make their plays and exhibitions affordable to the broadest number of citizens possible,” said Foley. “Without contributed income from both the public and the legislature the arts would not be available.”

There’s no word on whether the groups were able to convince any lawmakers to support more money for the arts today.