End-Of-Session Update: July 2011

A big THANK YOU for your time and support of the Louisiana Partnership for Arts Advocacy during the recently completed legislation session. You sent more than 11,000 emails to legislators!

The success of our partnership with lobbyist, Kevin Hayes, is evident in our highly successful efforts to restore funding to the Decentralized Arts Funding (DAF) and the Statewide Arts Grants (SAG) programs. Currently, DAF is budgeted at $1,500,000, a 50% increase over the original budget; this additional funding was added by the Senate Finance Committee. However this is still a 32% decrease from last year’s $2,194,557 DAF figure. As of now, $959,466 is budgeted for SAG, a 38.5% increase over last year’s figure of $589,745. While the Governor is still reviewing the budget, his signature is expected on the bill by July 12th, with no anticipated line item vetoes to impact the arts.

LPAA’s alliance with the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the Office of Cultural Development — a unique cooperative relationship by national standards — enables shared input, resulting in better communication with the administration and legislators as to the importance of the cultural economy. In the coming year, with much of Louisiana still reeling from this year’s natural disasters, our state will rely more heavily than ever on artists and cultural organizations to restore Louisiana’s unparalleled quality of life.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my two years as Chairman of the Board of Louisiana Partnership for Arts Advocacy and Louisiana Partnership for the Arts. Having toured the state this past year as part of our advocacy efforts, I’ve met so many wonderful people and experienced the diverse cultures of each corner of the state; thank you for your hospitality and generous support of our mission. Please continue to support the Board of Directors under the leadership of our new Chair, Christie Weeks, as it continues, with your help, to ensure that the arts remain an essential part of Louisiana’s rich cultural fabric!

Tommy Usrey

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