NH Arts Council in Grave Danger

The most important action you can take now is to contact your State Senator-before May 10-to let him or her know HOW IMPORTANT THE ARTS ARE TO NEW HAMPSHIRE and our economy.

NH Citizens for the Arts is asking the Senate to restore the Governor’s budget recommendation for the Council, $427,555 (which already incorporates a cut of almost 7% over the current year’s budget).

Background: Now is the time for you to be in touch with your Senator on behalf of the Arts Council! As you know, the House budget bill, HB1, left only $4700 in the Council’s budget, obviously not enough to maintain any semblance of an agency; in its budget attachment, HB2, the House completely eliminated the Arts Council and dispersed the Dept. of Cultural Resources. We have heard that the Senate is not likely to consider HB2 at this time, but they are still dealing with a House Budget that defunds the Council.

Data: We all know reasons why restoring state support for the arts is vitally important. For the statewide impact, the Arts Council has clear new data posted on its web site at www.nh.gov/nharts. Click on Arts Budget Update and Art Matters on the Home Page (the new NHSCA Agency Profile is especially helpful). Please spend a few minutes with this information-it’s important that we get our facts straight.

Contact: The best contact with your Senator would be in a face to face conversation. Next best is an actual letter (on paper!) and next is a phone call. Many Senators are getting so much email that either their accounts are overloaded or they have stopped reading it. In any event, you should contact them as a constituent, with specific examples about how losing the Arts Council will hurt your community and region.

If you write your Senator, please send a copy of your letter to the whole Senate Finance Committee, listed below. Email can be addressed via the Committee aide, Shannon Whitehead, at shannon.whitehead@leg.state.nh.us with “For the Senate Finance Committee” in the subject line. Her phone # is 271-4980, and she may be helpful in making an appointment with a member of the Finance Committee.

An important argument: At this point in their Budget deliberations, the Senate Finance Committee is going to be making a lot of trade-offs. Here is one very important argument you can make: Without State funding for the Arts Council, there may be more than $850,000 in federal money lost to New Hampshire. These are our tax dollars that we have already paid for. Among other things, this money improves education in New Hampshire. There is no reason that some other state should get this money.

Please help New Hampshire Citizens for the Arts (http://www.nhcfa.org/) to fight for arts funding in New Hampshire. More information about the NH State Council on the Arts at http://www.nh.gov/nharts.

NH Council on the Arts