Friday, January 31, 2003

Arts in Tennessee in Trouble?

I received this in my email today. Anyone heard of this before?

Urgent Action for the Arts Needed

In our January/February newsletter we suggested that members of TFTA and all other arts activists write to Governor Bredesen requesting new money funding for the Tennessee Arts Commission. You probably have seen the news that the governor in considering cutting some departments as much as 7.5 percent. Rumors abound at this moment that the cut for the Arts Commission may be much greater than that.

It is necessary that we do several things immediately:

1) Write to Governor Bredesen telling him how important the arts are in your community and how vital it is to maintain the funding for the Tennessee Arts Commission. Without adequate funding for the Arts Commission, programs of all kinds and sizes in almost every community in the state will be hurt. Be specific and give him numbers of those benefiting from TAC programs. Send your letter today to: Governor Phil Bredesen, State Capitol, Nashville, TN 37243. Please send a copy your letter to Michele Clark Douglas, TFTA. P.O. Box 40971, Nashville, TN 37204

2) Continue to develop and solidify your relationships with your legislators, in preparation for what are bound to be tough votes that they will face in the future. Send packets, brochures, photos, etc. about your programs and operations to your legislators and be very specific about how the Tennessee Arts Commission has helped in making them possible. This is a good time to invite your legislators to your events and help them get to know you better.

3) Ask your board members, volunteers, artists, and other arts activists to write letters to the governor and your legislators in the same vein. You may want to give them a format and facts to use in their letters.

As the prospects for cuts become more and more real, there will be incredible pressures from all departments/programs and their supporters for the dollars that are available. Arts activists must be heard in this push-pull maneuvering. ACT NOW! Write your letters and emails and make those calls. The Tennessee Arts Commission, and ultimately your organization and its programs, depend on our action.

If you have questions or if TFTA can help in this process, please email, or call 615 292-2232.
Michele Douglas
Executive Director, TFTA
My question is, what department does this actually fall under? And I'd like to see what cuts specifically would imperil the arts in Tennessee. I may be a strong advocate for the arts, but I'm also a Tennesseean, and care about my state and its financial well-being. Now is no longer the time for automatically resisting cutting our budgets, and so far the state departments seem to be following the lead.

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