Alaska’s Budget Cuts Could Affect The Art Industry

More than 11,000 people are employed in Alaska’s art industry, which adds $1.4 billion to the state’s economy, according to the National Endowment for the Arts chairwoman, who spoke ahead of the governor’s funding decisions.

NEA chairwoman Mary Anne Carter spoke Thursday at the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon ending with remarks about how the arts make up 2.7% of Alaska’s economy, the Juneau Empire reported Thursday.

In comparison, NEA’s figures put the arts contribution to Washington’s economy at $41.1 billion or 8.3%, Montana’s economy at $1.5 billion or 3.3% and Idaho’s economy at $1.9 billion or 2.8%.

The arts provide about $900 million in wages, Carter said.

“There is a need for public dollars, there is a need for private dollars, and neither can do it all by themselves,” Carter said.

Carter avoided mentioning Alaska State Council on the Arts’ uncertainty in her speech as Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy is expected to make final state budget decisions Monday after passed legislation restored many of the cuts, officials said. Dunleavy vetoed line items equaling $444 million in reductions to Alaska’s operating budget in June.

“We are like everyone else waiting to see what the governor will do in terms of vetoing or hopefully not vetoing the funding that was restored,” Alaska State Council on the Arts Chairman Ben Brown said. “I’ve certainly been reaching out to the administration through as many avenues as possible trying to convey our unique value proposition.”

Source: Associated Press