Monday, January 2, 2017
I went on an organized bus trip up to Tallahassee in an effort to convince state legislators to not cut funding for the arts. The bus cost about $1800 to rent for the day and Terry Olson collected money from each passenger to cover costs. We left before sunrise fr the Orlando Rep parking lot. The sun began to rise as we approached the Florida Capital. Passengers split up into group and we were each assigned different Senators and Representatives to visit.
In 2015 Governor Rick Scott vetoed 17 million dollars that was slated to help the arts. In Orange County there are 3,993 Arts related businesses that employ 26,792 people. I am looking for a job in the Orlando Arts Community this year, so hopefully I will be among that number. I'm searching for a reason to stay in the sunshine state other than the sunshine. The creative industries account for 4.3 percent of the total businesses located in Orange County Florida.
The state wide request was for $45 million which would fully fund 532 qualified matching Division of Cultural Affair (DCA) grants. 50 of these grant requests were from Central Florida. 74.9% of visitors to Florida participate in cultural activities. Cultural tourists spend 137% more than residents. DCA grants leveraged over $5 million in other private and matching grants. 7.4 million children benefited and 194,849 artists participated.
Senator Dantzler gave a reassuring speech to the arts advocates at the end of the day. Bright day glow green caps were issued to attendees in the audience. There was bright optimism. Orange County was ultimately awarded $3,066,198 for a total of 38 grants. That is down from the $4,578,946 grants given in 2015. That was a loss of $1,512,748 for the local arts community.