laurel Meny states The Love of Arts Will Prevail
While the Naples Art Association (NAA) has shared the potential for government budget cuts of the arts before, it has never been timelier than now. Just last year the Department of State declared Florida’s arts-and-cultural sector to be a $4.7 billion economic engine responsible for 132,366 fulltime jobs, but this year the arts aren’t a priority. In March, Governor Rick Scott and Florida legislators slashed the state’s grant program for arts and culture organizations by 90 percent. The state budget will allocate $2.6 million to fund nonprofit arts organizations all across the state, down from $25 million per year in previous years.
“We know from experience that these types of budget cuts have a trickle-down effect. First, it’s arts funding for organizations, then it’s arts funding for schools,” said Aimee Schlehr, NAA executive director & CEO. “We can’t sit back and wait for that to happen. It’s time for our area’s arts organizations to ban together and ensure that next year’s budget cuts don’t target the arts.”
The benefits of children having exposure to the arts are too many to list; most receive such exposure in schools. Research indicates that a child who is taught art acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate and create intellectual property, key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twenty-first century. In short, art creates successful people. The state funding cuts are certainly a setback, but can also be used as a chance for Florida residents and visitors to express just how valuable the arts are to them by giving
back. Choose an arts organization that is near and dear to your heart and donate to it. It’s with donations from people like you that organizations like the NAA are able to continue to provide a place for all to experience, create and enjoy art.
This summer, 1,000 students ages five to 14, will attend the 20th season of ARTScool. This program offers engaging and fun arts courses in subjects such as Art About My Selfie; tie dye; Once Upon a Time; Barbie Meets the Heroes and There’s a Rumble in the Jungle that incorporate school core subjects, such as math, science, language, history and technology, for kids during the summer months. Through donor support, the NAA is able to provide partial and full tuition assistance, so that all children, no matter their abilities or socioeconomic background, can attend.
As the Naples Art Association heads into its 65th season, it does so with an increased passion to unite area arts organizations, donors, artists, teachers and students, with the common goal of speaking with one voice to relay to our leaders the importance of funding for the arts, not only to nonprofits, but now, ever more important, to schools.
For more information about donating to the Naples Art Association, please visit www.NaplesArt.org.
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