The Delaware Arts Alliance (DAA) launched a robust campaign, #WhyDEArtsMatter, to advocate for preserving arts funding, when the Joint Finance Committee voted on May 30 to cut state arts grant funding by $550,000, a nearly 20% cut.
Throughout June, DAA disseminated calls to action from VoterVoice, urging advocates to express their support of maintaining arts funding. Nearly 500 messages were sent to legislators, with many DAA members and Institutional Supporters also making personal calls. Members and Institutional Supporters also showed their support during the “The Arts Mean Business” Town Hall hosted by Governor Carney in New Castle County on June 12.
In addition, the 41 Institutional Supporters signed a united statement in support of arts funding and by finding alternative sources of revenue to close the deficit, which appeared in the News Journal on June 27. That same day, a delegation representing DAA’s Institutional Supporters went to Legislative Hall to meet with Legislative Aides for Melanie George Smith and Debra Heffernan – Jon Patterson and Hadey Salem, respectively – to make the case for the arts.
DAA’s advocacy efforts continued through July 2, when late in the evening the General Assembly approved the FY2018 operating budget. While the Delaware Division of the Arts received a $70,000 reduction in funding for grants, this represents less of a decrease than some proposals that were considered during a challenging budgeting process. DAA will continue to communicate to legislators the social and economic value of the arts and advocate for a strong arts budget.