Following news that full funding—$704,000—was restored for the Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA), enabling the agency to additionally receive just over $3 million in federal and private sector funds, Americans for the Arts President and CEO Robert L. Lynch issued the following statement:
“I am very pleased that full funding for ASCA has been restored, and that the budget restoration received bipartisan support in both chambers of the legislature. This could not have been possible without Alaskans coming together to advocate and voice support for the arts, arts education, and cultural heritage. The fact is that advocacy works and is making an impact. I am proud of the work that these committed advocates accomplished in Alaska, along with the many teachers, business leaders, young people, and cross-sector stakeholders who offered testimony.
“This is a case study of the great strength and resiliency that binds us together, and what good that can happen when we galvanize to advocate for the arts, advance pro-arts policies, and strengthen our efforts to transform communities through the arts. It is more important than ever that we use the arts to help the economy, our communities, families and children, and our nation to seek hope, opportunity, and ultimately to come together.”
Despite voting to fully fund the ASCA budget during the legislative session, Governor Dunleavy line-item vetoed all funding for the state arts agency thereby shutting its doors. Later in a mid-July special session following outcry from Alaskans across the state, the state legislature restored full funding again in a new budget deal and the Governor did not exercise the line-item veto a second time on fiscal year 2020 funding for ASCA. The Alaska state arts agency will now re-open to promote and foster the development of the arts for all Alaskans through education, partnerships, grants, and services. ASCA ceased all activity immediately during its lapse in funding, but has already begun to restore the agency’s staff and programs. Detail about restored items for FY2020 can be viewed here.
For more information on how to make the case for the arts and arts education, visit Americans for the Arts’ Arts Mobilization Center.