Friday, February 26, 2010

One week left to pass a bill or 4Culture starts planning program cuts

There are only two weeks left in this session and we need legislation to move. If bills are not passed this year, we just heard confirmation that 4Culture is going to start planning dramatic staff, services and funding programs cuts that will begin as early as January, 2011. This is the first this reality has truly sunk in and we’re panicking.

Since the session started in January, we’ve seen at least 6 different bills proposed that would generate the support needed for 4Culture to continue to thrive. Unfortunately NONE of these bills has successfully moved through both the House and the Senate and time is running out.

What we need now is for every arts and heritage advocate in the state to write to their legislators with a general letter of support in the next few days. Even if you’ve already written a letter supporting specific bills, we need one last push to make sure that legislators understand that whatever name and number you put on the bill, we need ARTS and HERITAGE funding to be secured THIS YEAR.

Please ask friends and family to do the same. Senators and Reps from all over the state will get to vote on this issue, so we need non-king county legislators to understand that their constituents are excited about strong funding.

Here’s how to find your legislator

Below is a template for you to follow, or if you want a hand, some advice, a proof reader, or just to drink with us, stop by one of our laptop rallies next week and send your note from there.

Dear (Senator or Representative) XLAST NAMEX,

As a constituent living in your district, I am writing today to urge you to support legislation that continues funding for arts and heritage in King County through King County lodging taxes.

Add personal example of how your organization/self is served by 4Culture and what the loss of 4Culture would mean to you (see examples below or write your own)

The agency 4Culture has stewarded lodging taxes for cultural programs in King County for over 20 years. If a bill is not passed this year to secure their funding, they will begin planning to cut programs and services as early as January 2011. XXXX Personal note here bout how this would have a negative impact on you, your organization, your family, etcXX.

Xyour nameX
Xyour addressX

Examples of impact:

As a XXARTIST, PATRON, MUSEUM EXECUTIVE, MUSICIANXX I have benefited from 4Culture in the following ways XXXXXXX. For example:
  • I’ve been gainfully employed in the arts/heritage industry since moving to King County seven years ago – having a strong cultural community is about job security for me and thousands other in King County. 4Culture’s support provides stabilizing support for over 200 organizations County-wide.
  • I attend dozens of cultural events a year, and I see 4Culture’s logo on attached to most of these projects, not to mention on hundreds of posters and emails for events I can’t possibly make it to. If 4Culture funding goes away, many of these events will go away from our community. I can't imagine living in a neighborhood that didn't have vibrant social events to connect me to my neighbors.
  • My museum received critical support from 4Culture in a difficult time when our rent was doubled and we were forced to move to a new facility. Were it not for 4Culture's facilities programs, we might not have made it through this difficult transition.
  • My summer theater program is an important part of the South King County community. We employ several South King County residents, and provide hundreds of youth opportunities to participate in the arts each summer. Living outside of Seattle, 4Culture is the only source we are able to turn for ongoing operations and facility support, if this funding we to go away, we'd have to cut our program significantly.
  • 4Culture's Site-Specific program has brought fun, family-friendly, free performances to our local park each summer the last several years -- my kids now look forward to our annual tradition and come home and enact the performances.
  • I received a grant from 4Culture that helped me create a performance in Seattle that was so successful we were invited to tour to four different cities in the US. The tour enabled me to pay my company members for their performances. Our jobs as artists are real jobs, and touring and performing is how we create a livelihood and take care of our families. Our work also provides community benefit by allowing an opportunity for people to come together, express their ideas, learn, communicate and to be challenged. On my tour I felt like I was able to be an ambassador for King County and was able to garner contacts and support on a broader level through some national presenters and funders. As a professional artist, I am proud to come from a community that values art and who has an agency that is able to provide seed money for creative projects.
  • As a board member of a small non-profit arts organization in King County I know the value of 4Culture's funding. Our organization is able to pay rent for a full year with funds received from 4Culture. The simple fact is that we would literally not be able to keep our doors open without 4Culture's support.
  • 4Culture's technical services enable our organization to reach beyond our local community, and make us competitive and respected on a national scale. Though our work, aided by 4Culture, we draw visitors from around the world to King County. As you know, these tourist dollars reach deeply into our community, supporting a range of businesses from local cafes to high-end hotels and restaurants.
  • 4Culture's support has helped me leverage funds not only from the very few offerings in King County, but from foundations and corporations around the country. The 4Culture "Seal of Approval" demonstrates to national funders that my organization is valued and encourages their investment in our programs.

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