State budget allocates $1.5M to Arizona Commission on the Arts

The $9.6 billion fiscal year 2017 budget approved by Gov. Doug Ducey includes a $1.5 million appropriation to the Arizona Commission on the Arts. The additional funding represents a 50 percent increase over the 49-year-old state agency’s current fiscal year budget, according to a press release.

0525Nv News Brief (Arizona Comission on the arts)“We thank the statewide advocacy network of Arizona Citizens for the Arts and our champions in the state Legislature, on both sides of the aisle, for securing this funding,” said Robert Booker, Arizona Commission on the Arts executive director, in a prepared statement.

“As we enter our 50th year as Arizona’s state arts agency, we are proud to have earned this bipartisan vote of support.”

Established by the state legislature in 1967, the Arizona Commission on the Arts administers funding from both the state and federal government, supporting programs that contribute to the growth and stabilization of Arizona’s arts sector, enhance student learning, nurture artists’ creative and professional development, preserve the rich traditions of Arizona communities, and ensure all Arizonans can participate in and experience the arts.

After several years of reductions, the agency’s General Fund appropriation was eliminated in fiscal year 2012, the release states.

During the same recession-era budget balancing efforts, the $20 million Arizona ArtShare Endowment, built during 12 years of bipartisan support, was also eliminated.

The loss of these funding streams represented a more than 60 percent reduction in the arts commission’s budget between fiscal years 2008 and 2012.

“With the additional funding allocation for next year, the state’s leadership acknowledges the vital role that Arizona’s artists and arts organizations play in their communities as innovators and creative catalysts,” said Mr. Booker in the release.

“The arts are an economic driver, enhance the education of our young people, and create opportunities for dialogue and understanding among and within Arizona’s diverse communities. This funding will create, expand, and improve opportunities for Arizonans to engage in the arts in communities across the state.”

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