Gov. Rick Perry delivered his State of the State address on February 8th, proposing to consolidate or suspend non-critical state agencies in order to make state government more streamlined and efficient.
In Gov. Perry’s plan, he would entirely eliminate funding to four agencies, including the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Commission on the Arts, while consolidating dozens of others, as reported in MyWestTexas.com.
In an article published in the DallasNews.com the same day as the State of the State address, the Dallas Area Arts Group expressed concern about the impact that the proposed cuts would have on smaller groups. Arts organizations are currently struggling with slower ticket sales, lower contributions and declining endowment income.
“Doing away with that agency is not going to address the state’s problems in any significant way,” said George Landis, president of the Richardson Symphony Orchestra. “The worst thing is that there are dozens and dozens of really small arts groups in medium and small towns in Texas, and for them, six, eight, 10 or 15 thousand dollars could be a critical amount of money,” he said. “A lot of the arts council money goes to very small local initiatives.”
Paul Stewart, acting president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, said that “There’s sometimes a misunderstanding about the arts, and the positive impact they have on our economy — for driving tourism and other economic activity, and attracting businesses to our state. … These are things that enrich our community intellectually and spiritually as well as economically.”
The International Museum of Cultures is located in South Dallas providing a window into indigenous people of the world to further mutual respect and peace between peoples. This museum is an example of the great benefit of small cultural organizations for Texas, and the world.