Local arts nonprofits are in need of funding more than ever after budget cuts to the arts at the state level.
Arts and culture nonprofits in Central Florida need your help.
Maitland-based United Arts of Central Florida is calling on local residents for its 2018 Collaborative Campaign for the Arts. It hopes to raise money for arts nonprofits that provide education and entertainment to the community.
The campaign got an early start in November but officially began February and runs through April 30. As of Friday, April 13, the campaign has raised 68.1% of its $2 million goal.
That money will go toward several nonprofits in the Central Florida area, including Art & History Museums — Maitland, Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Crealdé School of Art, Orlando Science Center, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Enzian Theater and many others.
Donors also can choose which nonprofit they want to support. United Arts will match 15% of all the donations through April 30.
“The collaborative campaign is an annual campaign that we run with the large-budget cultural institutions in Central Florida,” Development Manager Valerie Solomon said. “Every year, we get together and fundraise together for arts and culture. For the United Arts part, we raise money for the Arts for All fund, which is the grant pool that we feed into so we can offer grants to arts and cultural organizations.”
United Arts of Central Florida hopes to cushion the blow of a budget cut approved at the state level. In the the state’s recent budget session in March, arts funding was cut by almost 90%, from $24.6 million in 2018 to $2.6 million in 2019 statewide.
That ranks the state of Florida as 48th out of 50 states in terms to funding for the arts, Marketing and Communications Manager Chris Majocha said.
Meanwhile, the nonprofit arts industry produces $400 million in direct economic activity annually and supports 13,764 jobs in Central Florida, according to United Arts of Central Florida.
“We are cautious about making sure that we continue to express the need of support for arts and culture, because we’ve had a pretty rough year,” Solomon said. “Obviously, we had Hurricane Irma that hit during the fall season opening in 2017 (which damaged facilities and impacted ticket sales), and we also had the announcement from our state Legislature about the budget cuts for arts and culture. … A lot of our organizations over the next year are going to be really looking to replace quite a bit of funding.”
Crealdé School of Art Executive Director Peter Schreyer said it is critical for the community to support these nonprofits.
The Crealdé School hosts several art classes, workshops and camps. It also organizes events and exhibitions throughout the year.
“It’s so very important because it’s raising general operating money for the school,” he said. “All the other organizations and art groups are doing the same thing. United Arts is really pushing it through their marketing. There’s a lot of awareness in the community that the arts really need their support. Sadly, it happens at a really pivotal time, where all the art groups have been so negatively impacted by the dramatic cuts of funding from the state of Florida.”
The arts give people a reprieve from daily life and help them connect with others around them, and that’s exactly why they need to be preserved, Schreyer said.
“It’s an opportunity for people to create beauty, to express themselves and to come together — I see it constantly with exhibits we do and community projects we do where people from different walks of life and different backgrounds come together and through the art they learn about each other,” Schreyer said. “It makes us real civilized human beings, where we connect with each other and we tell stories and learn about each other through the arts.”