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May 30, 2012 6:45 PM by Steven Albritton

Budget Cuts to Art & Culture Programs Looming

As the new state budget is being prepared, Art programs across the state are preparing to lose more than $500,000 in funding. The Louisiana Citizens for the Arts Organization is doing everything it can to keep those funds from being taken away.

"With the cuts as they stand the decentralized program will shrink even more. Which means that some of the smaller festivals and smaller organizations will really be in trouble and won't be able to receive any grant money," Dr. Gerd Wuestemann, Executive Director of the Acadiana Center for the Arts said.

Right now the Decentralized Arts Funding (DAF) Program and the Statewide Arts Grants (SAG) are both going to be losing money. If they do this means that programs and festivals that rely heavily on grants to function will be recieving smaller or no grants.

"Here in town for instance, it supports Festival Acadian or Festival International. Or it supports events throughout the parish that go through libraries, work with schools, small museums, small arts organizations, and community theater," Dr. Wuestemann said.

The bill is currently in discussions in both the State House and State Senate but State Senator Fred Mills isn't quite sure if these programs will be getting all of their budget money back.

"It's a hard thing to predict. I mean the universities are down, the hospitals are down, education is down. It's going to be a debate and I think everybody is going to try and be fair and spread the cuts evenly. But I can say that the people in charge of lobbying to the the arts and culture money back tell me that they are one of the more severely cut," Senator Mills said.

The Louisiana Citizens for the Arts organization is asking people to email their legislators throughout the rest of the week and weekend, in hopes that will convince them to put at least $500,000 back in the budget.

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