I am a busy person. I don’t like to waste time or effort. I am also a person worried about funding cuts for the arts. So I gamely signed petitions, wrote emails, and even made the occasional call to help those trying to save the status quo for the NEA, CAC, SD Commission for Arts and Culture and the City of Chula Vista City when asked. But I was truly surprised when I learned that these efforts really helped. What I did not know is that there is a formula that converts every contact into a ratio. So each email might, for example, represents 10,000 voters in the state. That makes a big difference to me. I like knowing that my time and effort is not wasted and that these seemingly small acts are relevant and can result in changes.
The City of San Diego passed the 2018 budget. It reduced the cuts to San Diego’s arts and culture funding from 31% to 3.5%. While less than ideal, this much smaller budget cut is great news for keeping most programs intact and minimizing job loss. This news comes from Rise Up for the Arts.
PLUS: the Chula Vista City Council voted unanimously to support a budget compromise that keeps the city's Cultural Arts program, and other important city programs, intact. The council’s action averts the potential layoff of 10 – 15 city employees, and other cutbacks, that would have eliminated the positions of the Cultural Arts Program Manager, the Marketing and Communications Manager, an Economic Development Specialist, two Code Enforcement officers and more. Thanks to Patricia Aguilar, Chula Vista Councilperson for this great update.
PLUS, PLUS: Grants totaling $15,032,837 have been awarded to various nonprofit organizations statewide this year by the California Arts Council. A total of 1,076 grantees will receive state grant funding for their work spanning the Arts Council's 15 unique program categories, benefiting California's students, veterans, arts educators, at-risk youth, formerly incarcerated individuals, underserved populations, and communities at large.
PLUS, PLUS, PLUS: it appears that the NEA and Public Broadcasting will not now be cut if the congress holds strong on these matters.
At the American for the Arts Conference held in San Francisco this month, there were many wonderful sessions and they are all available via their YouTube page. I liked the presentation during Art and Politics in the Trump era by Sofia Klatzker, Executive Director of Arts for LA in charge of art advocacy in Los Angeles. I found her to do list for local action very concrete. She advocates for each community to declare an arts day, arts week and then arts month. Get out and do candidate surveys and post them online and then hold candidate forums in association with the league of women’s voters. Work to make non-profit art sites into polling places and add a performance or exhibition on the day. Do briefings about what is occurring and build local coalitions to mobilize when needed. And most importantly activate the youth. She has an 8 month training session that culminates with an advocacy project of their choice. And there is a program where volunteers actually walk young voters to the polls with slogans like “I matter”.
Finally, we are seeing many artist that are being activist i.e. artivist. Don’t Shut Up curated by Linda Litteral produced by FIG (founder Anna Stump) is at City Gallery AH314, San Diego City College (1508 C Street, SD 92101) with an opening reception on July 8 from 5 to 8 pm and a panel discussion July 13 from 6 to 8 pm, and an artist talk on July 20 on 5 to 8 pm. Female-led art and activism focused on raising women’s voices on an assortment of issues is featured. This exhibition includes an activist quilt featuring 40 blocks from all over the United States including San Diego. The opening reception will also feature a political postcard writing station by Lori Lipsman and spoken word performance by poet Stacy Dyson. This event runs until July 26.