The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”-– Mark Twain

We understand your concern over recent cuts made to the Arizona Commission on the Arts budget. Many of you have contacted our staff with questions: Is the Arts Commission still providing grants to organizations and schools? Is the Arts Commission moving forward with established programs? Is the Arts Commission even still around?

The answer to each of these questions is yes. While there have been and will continue to be recession casualties, the Arts Commission grants process is not one of them. We are moving forward with the grant categories outlined in the published guidelines for fiscal year 2011. And like a character from this famous Monty Python video clip, we’re not dead.


We’re Not Dead
But unlike the video’s yet-undead character, we won’t go down without a fight. We intend to serve the state arts industry through these challenging times and beyond, into what we know will be a more prosperous future for the field.

As we told you last week, the Arizona arts budget has been reduced by approximately 60% since the start of the state’s fiscal crisis. The state budget enacted last week included an additional 25% reduction to the Arts Commission’s already reduced resources, as well as a complete sweep of the remaining $10 million in the 14-year old Arizona ArtShare Endowment.We have and will continue the fight to mitigate losses, find ways to improve our efficiency, and then — as we always have — will maximize resources in service of the statewide arts industry. We remain committed to supporting arts organizations, arts learning programs, festivals and individual artists with direct grants and professional support.

Though our budget has changed, our vision for success has not. We believe success for the arts in Arizona includes the following:

  • All Arizonans have access to vibrant, quality arts and cultural activities regardless of where they live.
  • Residents can make healthy livable wages working in myriad facets of the arts in any Arizona community. Their contributions to the community are valued and respected.
  • All students have access to quality, robust arts and arts education opportunities in Arizona schools. In-school opportunities are enhanced by meaningful arts and arts education opportunities in out-of-school and community settings.
  • Arts and cultural programs and organizations are considered societal cornerstones and employed as partners in the revitalization of streets, neighborhoods and communities.
  • Innovative businesses, large and small, locate or maintain operations in Arizona in recognition of the state’s cultural vibrancy, strong education system, profitable business environment and overall exceptional quality of life. The investment of these companies provides desirable and well-paid jobs throughout the state.

Help chart the course for Arts Commission programs by attending one of the remaining listening sessions taking place as part of our 2010-2015 Strategic Planning Process: Building an Artistic Future for Arizona. Thank you to those who attended and provided insightful feedback in the first meetings in Tucson and Yuma.

Join us and help us craft our collective future.

Robert C. Booker
Executive Director
Arizona Commission on the Arts

Listening Session Schedule
There will be several ways to participate in Building an Artistic Future for Arizona, including targeted surveys, interviews, focus groups, and the listening sessions listed below.To confirm that you plan to participate in any of the statewide listening sessions, send an email to [email protected] at least 5 days prior to the scheduled meeting. In the email, list your full name, title and/or affiliation, and the city/workshop you will attend.

Lake Havasu City
Friday, March 26, 2010; 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Mohave Community College, 1977 Acoma Boulevard West, Lake Havasu City 86403

Wednesday, March 31, 2010; 5:30pm to 7:00pm
West Valley Arts Council, 13243 North Founders Park Boulevard, Surprise 85379

Show Low
Thursday, April 8, 2010; 5:30pm to 7:00pm
City Campus Studio, 620 East McNeil Street, Show Low 85901

Tuesday, April 13, 2010; 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 North Fort Valley Road, Flagstaff 86001

Wednesday, April 21, 2010; 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Tubac Center for the Arts, 9 Plaza Road, Tubac 85646

Thursday, April 29, 2010; 5:30pm to 7:00pm
Mesa Contemporary Arts, 1 East Main Street, Mesa 85201