Funding the Arts

I would like to thank the Metro Pulse for the article "Art Work" [by Matthew Everett] published in your Jan. 14 issue. As an art student at the University of Tennessee I am embarrassed to admit that until I read this article I was not aware of the funding situation facing our art organizations. For those of you who do not know the circumstances, our Museum of Art, the Dogwood Arts Festival, and many local artists and groups have lost their funding from the 2009-2010 Knox County budget. To supplement this dry spell, they [The Arts & Culture Alliance] are proposing that one penny of every $100 of property taxes go to a committee that would grant money based on applications. Also, as an exchange for this support, each group would open their doors to Knox County schools once a year.

I would simply like to encourage our community to support this action. This would not only give our youth a new kind of exposure to the arts, but to art in their community. This city is filled with a scurry of ideas and talent, and our children should learn about what is happening around them. This could also make up for the cuts made to their own art programs. We all know that in a time of budgeting, the football team will always come before art class.

I also learned that many organizations have been censoring their art in order to attract the largest crowds and thus make the most money in order to stay in business. A hindrance should never be put on free speech and the principles of democracy, especially in America and even in our current economic circumstances. We have a responsibility as citizens to preserve and support the culture of our communities and Knoxville, the city we love. Please do not let this issue fall through the cracks.

Haley McCallie

Knoxville