While this is hardly a space for political posturing, I believe it is important to alert Madison Opera fans that two significant sources of our funding are under attack in the current round of national and local budget cuts. In congress, the National Endowment for the Arts is facing a proposed $43.1 million decrease for FY11. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker’s recent budget proposal would eliminate the Wisconsin Arts Board entirely, leaving all remaining arts granting duties to the Department of Tourism, with a depleted budget of $1.5 million (down from $3.7 million).
At Madison Opera, we believe that the arts are part of the solution, not the problem. The arts create jobs, build communities, and offer invaluable educational opportunities for all. Government funding for the arts in the U.S. is already paltry; we must speak up for what little is left. If you agree, here’s how you can help (the links below go to personalized forms that will be e-mailed directly to your representatives):
- Defend the NEA by telling your Representative and Senator about the importance of federal funding for the arts in your community. The NEA has specifically funded recent productions of The Tender Land and The Turn of the Screw, allowing Madison Opera to sustain its expansion to a 3-production season, in turn providing new employment opportunities for artists, designers, production staff, and stagehands. It has also funded Opera in the Park, a free event enjoyed annually by over 14,000 citizens from Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa.
- Defend the Wisconsin Arts Board by writing your state representatives in the upper and lower chambers. The WAB is an indispensable state agency for fostering arts education, employment, and accessible performances in our communities. Any depletion of its granting capabilities will directly and negatively impact the hundreds of organizations it supports across the state. You can tell them specifically that the WAB is one of Madison Opera’s largest season sponsors.
Thank you for your continued support, and let’s hope the climate for the arts turns in our favor!