Governor Dunleavy’s veto of all funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts has a direct impact on our community.
At the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, we will immediately lose $40,000 in grant funds, essentially one staff position.
These funds provide for the Artists in the Schools program in Juneau’s schools. This program provides arts education for our children and work for local artists.
Also, the state-wide Poetry Out Loud scholarship competition, which culminates with the championship in Juneau (Alaska’s champion won the national championship and a $20,000 scholarship a couple of years ago) and engages thousands of students around the state, will not be held this year. This is a part time Council staff position, and a small loss of hotel and restaurant income for the community.
The JAHC Board budget committee has been meeting to consider how we will manage. Arts education is one of our top priorities, and we are strategizing ways to maintain the Artists in the School program for the coming year.
Much of our funding comes through the generosity of local people and businesses. As these cuts take their toll on people’s jobs and personal income, we anticipate that our budget will be further affected in the long term. We will be looking at how we can continue to provide services, help other arts and service groups to survive, and continue to make Juneau a creative and vital community.
There will undoubtedly be more information coming as these budget vetoes reverberate throughout Alaska, affecting us all.
Please continue to contact the legislators and Governor to express your concerns. Your voice is louder than you think.