It's rare to hear of government budget increases these days — especially in the arts — but that's what's on the line this Friday, June 14 for the South Carolina Arts Commission.
On Friday, the state's Budget Conference Committee will continue to deliberate the House and Senate versions of the FY2014 state budget, which differ in their funding for the SCAC. The Senate version fully funds the Commission's budget requests, which would mean a significant increase in funding over FY2013 and previous years — basically, bringing it back to pre-recession levels.
The three requests that will go forward if the Senate budget passes are:
1. $25,000 in non-recurring funds for the planning of a Cultural Districts Designation Program.
2. $30,000 in recurring funds to support on-going professional development for S.C. artists and entrepreneurs.
3. $1,000,000 in recurring funds for statewide grantmaking.
The House version recommends the SCAC for "level funding," meaning that the commission is not recommended for a budget cut but will not be awarded any of the additional funds requested.
We're still waiting to hear more about how these proposed funds would affect Charleston, but here's what we do know — how organizations around the Lowcountry benefit from state arts funding each year. The SCAC's grantmaking in 2013 went to places like North Charleston Creative Arts Elementary School to help them purchase musical instruments and Chamber Music Charleston, Charleston Stage, and the Park Circle Film Society for general operating support.
The South Carolina Arts Alliance has issued an advocacy alert for those who want to contact the members of the Budget Conference Committee and express support for the Senate version of the budget. Find out more on their Facebook page.