July 17, 2024

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DeSantis Vetoes All Arts Grants in Florida

2 min read

But since lawmakers did include the money in the budget they approved in March, arts organizations thought that funds would ultimately come their way. It took Mr. DeSantis several months to formally receive, review and sign the budget, for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

Funding for some cultural organizations did survive, as projects put forth by individual lawmakers. In the past, leaders of arts organizations have been discouraged from seeking those earmarks and encouraged to apply through the grant program instead, Mr. Russell, of the Sarasota Opera, said.

Many people have moved to Florida in recent years, and cities like Sarasota and St. Petersburg, also on the Gulf Coast, have promoted the arts as part of their identity, becoming destinations for those looking for a lively cultural scene.

Even small towns have benefited from having arts groups anchoring cultural programming, said Grace B. Robinson, executive director of the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum in Quincy, a city of about 8,000 in the rural Florida Panhandle.

“We attract people who improve residential and business properties — many of whom will only move to communities with quality art organizations,” she said. The center had expected to receive a $50,000 grant, which would have amounted to about 12 percent of its annual budget, she added.

After Mr. DeSantis’s veto, the Florida Cultural Alliance asked its members how the funding cuts would affect them. Out of 108 organizations that responded to the survey, 73 percent said they would make adjustments and continue with their existing plans.

But 41 percent said they would have to cancel public events, 35 percent said they would have to cut programming for children and 31 percent said they would have to reduce their staff.

Patricia Mazzei

2024-06-21 16:19:26

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