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KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego Arts Organizations Plan To Rally Against Proposed Funding Cuts

A fountain in front of the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.
Katie Schoolov
A fountain in front of the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.

San Diego Arts Organizations Plan To Rally Against Proposed Funding Cuts
San Diego Arts Organizations Plan To Rally Against Proposed Funding Cuts GUEST:Alan Ziter, co-chair, San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition

This is KPBS Midday Edition . I am Maureen Cavanaugh. It is Friday, May 5. San Diego arts organizations are planning to remind the city and the leaders why art funding is important. A "Rise Up For The Arts" event is set for the pleasant. The rally is in protest of the arts funding cuts in the proposed budget for fiscal 2018. The cuts to the penny for the arts program are more significant now that President Trump has proposed doing away with the national endowment for the arts. This is the cochair of the regional arts and culture. Amita Sharma, welcome . Apparently the proposed funding cuts in the budget came as a surprise to the arts community. How much of a cut was it? Back it was 31% of the budget that has been funding the arts from the hotel tax. The city points out that $10.4 million that is in a budget is still more than the arts got in 2015. Are they right? Back it is a slight increase, yes. There is a blueprint for penny for the arts. The arts get $0.01 of the hotel tax collected in San Diego. Mayor Faulconer in 2012, he and the rest of the Council approved twice this blueprint that would get the arts funding back up to one cent -- $0.01. The arts should get $22 million this year and instead are getting $10 million. The reason that is important, groups like the opera and the museums, they need to put years in advance the best productions and the best exhibits. Going back and forth because of budget is not practical and it is not making a good investment arts. What happens this year? A cut? This is several hundred thousand dollars for large budget institutions. This means that there are jobs lost, community programs are cut. Arts and education programs in the schools, they will be cut. This is a double whammy for the schools because they are cutting arts funding as well. What you are saying, this program that was brought into being by the city Council in 2012, arts organizations were expecting to have funding go up on a sliding scale upward for the next couple of years and what you found instead is this cut of one third of the finding you expect from the city. That is correct. It did not start in 2012. For decades, it has come from the hotel tax. It was written into city policy. $0.01 is allocated to the arts and culture. That has eroded over the years. That is why this was established in 2012. Here we are looking at the budget. We know the city has financial challenges. We have said we will rise and fall with the TOT. Our funding is cut 31%. The mayor's office said they need to make funding cuts to help preserve essential services and public safety. On the face of what is projected city budget deficit, that is a strong argument. Yes Comet it is. We are saying we will take our fair share of the cuts with the other departments. I do not know any department that is getting a 31% cut. Is that the message you are bringing to City Hall on Monday? We will restate the importance of the jobs of the programs in the community and the tourism promotion that we are doing and also the fact that we will take a fair and equitable cut with the city. What is the impact on the arts on the Sandy go community? It is significant. There are 7000 jobs at these organizations that are funded by the city. Nearly $300 million is spent by these organizations. These are mom and pop businesses. The money they take an does not go into headquarters. It stays right here. It is spent in our neighborhoods. These organizations have quality productions and exhibits, but they do extensive efforts to bring tourists to San Diego. They are programs with the schools and there are programs in every district in San Diego. There is another threat coming from Washington DC, the Trump administration's proposal to do away with the national endowment for the arts. Do arts institutions get substantial funding from the government? Back they get a fair amount of funding. Across the board of all budget size organization, thankfully, that has been held off by the latest budget agreement. They are getting a $2 million increase. That is good but that is a constant battle. Republicans are always looking for zero and the arts have won this round and I am sure there will be a future around. What do you think the chances are winning with the city Council? At the rally for the arts, we have several city Council members who have said they will speak in support of looking at the budget to find increases. We are hopeful we can work with the city Council as they have to restore some of the cuts that have come in the mayor's office. Where and when is this rally? Back it is Monday at the Civic Center Plaza. There is signmaking and performances. Speakers will start at 8:00 and council members will be there at 8:30. All of those in attendance will go to the chambers for the budget hearing to make a case before city Council. I have been speaking with Alan Ziter . Thank you.

Protest Details

What: Rise Up For The Arts rally to protest arts funding cuts in the proposed fiscal 2018 San Diego budget

When: Monday, May 8 from 7:30-9 a.m.

Where: Civic Center Plaza, 202 C Street in San Diego

San Diego arts organizations are planning to remind the city and its leaders why arts funding is important.

Arts groups including the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition and the San Diego Museum Council are participating in a rally beginning at 7:30 a.m. Monday to protest arts funding cuts in the Mayor's proposed budget for fiscal 2018. The group will attend a City Council budget hearing which starts at 9 a.m.

Organizers said San Diego City Council members Lorie Zapf, Chris Ward and David Alvarez will also participate in the rally.

The proposed budget reduces arts funding by $4.7 million, almost a third of what the city currently spends.

Alan Ziter is the co-chair of the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, an organization that advocates for stable funding of the arts by the city. On Friday's Midday Edition, Ziter discusses how the cuts could impact local arts organizations.