We recently received an update on the state’s proposed budget cuts from S.C. Arts Alliance Executive Director Betty Plumb.
The good news? Despite Gov. Nikki Haley’s recommendations to eliminate the S.C. Arts Commission, the House Ways & Means Committee (HWM) proposed just a 6 percent budget cut ($123,051).
The House budget also includes a proviso that would place the Arts Commission and the State Museum under the Department of Parks. “The legislation seems to leave the Arts Commission’s functions and structure intact, but we can expect the Arts Commission will study the implications of this restructuring proposal and its impact on providing programs and services to constituents and to the overall health and effectiveness of the agency,” Plumb writes.
Now for the bad news: the House budget includes another proviso that would suspend the Arts Curricular Innovation Grants Program (ACIG) for a year. This loss of funding would eliminate the Arts in Basic Curriculum summer teacher institutes and the S.C. Arts Assessment Program, along with other education-related programs. “These funding cuts would set arts education back years and would include not only the loss of school and district arts programs but teaching positions in the arts,” Plumb explains. “The reality of a one-year suspension could actually mean that these funds would never be restored for arts education programs within our schools.”
Plumb recommends that concerned citizens take action by asking local representatives to support the HWM’s funding recommendations for the Arts Commission as well as efforts to restore funds to the ACIG Programs. You can find the contacts you need at scartsalliance.net.