Tucson arts groups worried about future of NEA - Tucson News Now

Tucson arts groups worried about future of NEA

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Eliminating government spending on the arts is on the minds of many Tucson arts groups as a new federal budget proposal is expected to be presented soon. For some, it's the future of the National Endowment for the Arts that has them concerned.

"The NEA is our lifeline," said Milta Ortiz, marketing and outreach director for the Borderlands Theater in downtown Tucson. "It's how we have this space. It's how we produce our shows and how we stay open."

According to the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona, the NEA has put in more than $5 million into Tucson and southern Arizona in the forms of grants.

Ortiz said the Borderlands Theater, which is currently housed at the Sosa Carillo Fremont House near the Tucson Convention Center, applied for three NEA grants last year and received two of them, each worth $10,000.

Ortiz said this keeps their business going.

"Most of the grant money goes to pay for production costs," Ortiz said. "Designer fees, playwright fees, director fees, actor fees and paying for the theater space. If we don't have grants, I don't know how the arts are going to stay alive."

Learn more about the Borderlands Theater here: https://www.facebook.com/Borderlands-Theater-212306712145465/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

According to an online grant search, the NEA provided the Southwest Folklife Alliance, who puts on the annual Tucson Meet Yourself festival, a total of $35,000 in 2016.

"We're a small community and resources are limited and we are deeply appreciative to our private philanthropists, our private foundations and our national foundations that fill the gap that public monies leave when they're not adequately funded," said executive director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona Debi Chess Mabie. "So, putting more pressure on private philanthropy just makes it more difficult for all of us."

The Arts Foundation is gearing up to host this year's "Arts Congress" at the state capitol on Tuesday, March 14.

For more information on how to get involved click here: http://artsfoundtucson.org/news-opps-february-24-2017/

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