Thursday, December 17, 2009
NJ is in a serious state and because of it, the arts are suffering. And, in Sussex County, NJ, where we've been trying to stimulate the arts, they are getting cut greatly. This week Governor Corzine froze state funding that was promised to state arts organizations, without warning, giving organizations no time for a plan "B." Both the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council and Peters Valley Craft Center, two organizations that have been instrumental in my career, are facing a grim future.
SCA&HC has developed exhibition opportunities for me early in my career as well as nurture some key relationships that have helped me grow as an artist. Additionally, Peters Valley, along with a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation partnership, provided me a one month residency in which to focus on my painting, giving me the realization to seek out studio space. I can credit these two organizations as the stepping stones to opening TraillWorks. They helped nurture an artist to think big and open a gallery and studio in a town on the verge of redevelopment. TraillWorks is helping the local economy and it was through the help of two prominent NJ arts organizations. Beyond me, these two groups do a lot for other arts organizations and provide many opportunities to many communities. It would be a disaster for our state and for our local economy to lose these organizations.
Here are some facts about the economic boost that arts provide (from the NJ State Council on the Arts, ):
• stimulate over $1.5 billion in economic activity
• return $36 Million in state tax revenues
• support 17,000 businesses and 82,000 jobs
• annually produce 34,000 events and attract 18 million attendees who spend over $400 million in the local economy
To learn more about the importance of the arts beyond the economic, visit http://www.njartscouncil.org.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
The Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council needs to raise $20,000 within two weeks to remain in operation. To help them, visit www.scahc.org or call 973-383-1307.
Peters Valley has restructured and let go most of its teachers and staff in an effort to stay afloat. To help Peters Valley, you can make a donation by visiting their web site, www.petersvalley.org or call 973-948-5200.
At this time of year many organizations are seeking money. Even if you can offer a dollar it will mean the world to many organizations.