If you are not already aware, last Tuesday the Detroit Institute of Arts received a line item appropriation of up to $10 million as a one-time grant supported by General Fund dollars from lapsed FY 2010 year-end funds. As we have come to understand, this action by administration officials and legislators fulfilled a prior state commitment to assist in supporting asbestos remediation expenses incurred by the DIA in its stewardship role for this government-owned building.
Founded in 1885, the Detroit Institute of Arts is one of Michigan's treasured cultural institutions, attracting thousands of visitors each year and contributing richly to the city, region and state. The funds granted will help the DIA recover a portion of those prior infrastructure costs -- moving the organization forward in its continued efforts to regain financial stability during one of this state's worst economic climates. No funds were allocated to support programs or operations.
We understand the efforts of the administration and legislature to satisfy this prior funding commitment for the Detroit Institute of Arts. However, we must also remind our leaders of the needs of the hundreds of arts, culture and arts education organizations of all sizes that contribute richly to our state and its communities.
ArtServe opposes legislative line items in principle. It is a process that negates the state-mandated, competitive, peer adjudication grant review process administered by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. It is a process that eliminates the opportunity for a fair and equitable distribution of state resources to serve the public and its needs and interests.
Therefore, while we support increased funding for Michigan's arts and cultural organizations, ArtServe urges the present and incoming administration and legislature to carefully weigh the significant role of the creative sector as an economic driver and transformative force as it considers its responsibilities to invest in Michigan's arts and cultural institutions.
Arts, culture and arts education organizations contribute over 75,000 jobs and over 21,000 creative businesses to Michigan's economy. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation reported in 2008 that arts and cultural organizations furthered state cultural tourism and economic development goals by generating $1.8 billion in state tourism revenues and $1.5 billion in personal income through their employees. In an economy with a 13% unemployment rate, we should be working to retain and attract jobs in the creative sector just as we are in business and industry.
In spite of these economic benefits, the state's investment in the arts has been cut 90% since 2002, positioning Michigan as the 48th of 50 states in per capita funding for the arts. The Fiscal Year 2011 budget for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs is just over $2.5 million. Of that amount, only $1.4 million is supported by the state's General Fund thanks to matching funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. The state's support for arts and cultural organizations is not comparable to the attention offered for business and industry in spite of the clear economic benefits.
ArtServe urges the state leadership to work with Michigan's arts and cultural leaders to develop sustainable strategies to restore funding for the arts, culture and arts education to appropriate levels.
As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact Mike Latvis at email@example.com or 248-379-5897.