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Action Alert: Contact the Members of the Joint Conference Committee on the Budget Bills now.

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The Conferees are appointed

The Members of the Joint Conference Committee on the Budget Bills were appointed yesterday.  Budget conferees will begin meeting today in order to resolve differences between the budget approved by the House and the budget approved by the Senate.  Please take a moment this week to reach out to the budget conferees listed below.  Please thank the conferees for their support for the arts and ask them to adopt a Conference Report that includes the additional $300,000 in funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts that is in the Senate’s budget.  The funding would provide additional grants to arts organizations statewide, promoting tourism and broadening access to the arts for Virginians in rural and underserved areas.

Find contact information for the House of Delegates here at:

http://dela.house.virginia.gov/dela/MemBios.nsf/MWebsiteCO?OpenView

Find contact information for the State Senate here at:

http://apps.lis.virginia.gov/sfb1/Senate/TelephoneList.aspx

Senate Conferees:

  • Senator Walter Stosch
  • Senator Charles Colgan
  • Senator Janet Howell
  • Senator Tommy Norment
  • Senator Emmett Hanger
  • Senator John Watkins

House Conferees:

  • Delegate Lacey Putney
  • Delegate Kirk Cox
  • Delegate Beverly Sherwood
  • Delegate Steve Landes
  • Delegate Chris Jones
  • Delegate Johnny Joannou


Tips for communicating effectively with your legislator:

  • Be sure to thank the budget conferees for their past support for the arts.
  • Describe the impact of the arts on your community (for example, the number of jobs, attendance figures, impact on children, impact on local businesses, etc.).
  • Explain what state funding enables you to do.
  • Provide information about how the state’s investment has led to additional funding leveraged from individuals, corporations, private foundations, local governments, and others.
  • Ask an arts board member, executive or other arts supporter to join you in advocating for additional funding for VCA


Talking points

  • Virginia’s arts industry creates jobs.  Virginia Commission for the Arts grantees employed 9,111 Virginians in FY12 in full-time and part-time positions.  According to our most up-to-date information, this is an increase of 700 jobs since FY11.  Virginia is home to more than 21,000 arts-related businesses that employed 76,000 people as of January 2012.
  • The arts promote tourism.  In FY12, an estimated 8.3 million people attended arts events made possible through funding by the Virginia Commission for the Arts.  Virginia’s arts industry is proud of its role in attracting domestic and international visitors to the Commonwealth.
  • Arts organizations support other small businesses and generate revenues for Virginia.  Businesses rely on arts organizations to purchase their materials and services.  Arts events produced an estimated $200 million in local spending in FY12, based on national data.   
  • The arts play a key role in community-building in Virginia.  Arts organizations are  anchors for development and revitalization in cities and small towns.  Theaters and other arts venues are often the catalyst for downtown revivals.
  • The arts are essential to the intellectual and creative growth of Virginia’s   children.    Research shows that arts education boosts student achievement, helping to advance the critical-thinking skills students need to beproductive participants in the global economy.  VCA grantees served more than 1.6 million youth in FY12.  

 

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