The Arizona Legislature has, year after year, continued to de-fund public art and support for the arts.
When Ken was last in the legislature, in 2003-05, the annual budget for the Arizona Commission on the Arts' endowment was cut from $10million to $6million. In 2012, the endowment was $0.
The arts in Arizona employs over 56,000 people in almost 18,000 arts-related businesses and it has an economic impact of almost half a billion dollars.(1)
While this seems small by comparison to weapons systems, for instance, the impact on District 24 is huge. District 24 is the home of the famous First Fridays and Artlink events. Few would deny the role of the arts in revitalizing downtown and central Phoenix.
For the past 15 years, the artist, gallery owners and small business owners of downtown Phoenix have attracted tens of thousands of visitors every month to First and Third Fridays, proving that there was a demand for the arts, human connection and creative industries. The result has been economic development, community revitalization and business attraction.
It would be folly to deny the role of the arts in the revitalization of downtown Phoenix, which has injected hundreds of millions of dollars in to our economy. As a Realtor®, Ken knows that the trend it toward cohesive communities where art and identity plays a role. He helps many clients every year who want to move in to downtown to be part of the new energy.
This trend is happening all over Arizona and can be strengthened by the Legislature, resulting in positive economic development.
Further, funding for the arts supports education of our youth so that they can communicate in a competitive international market place and so that they can understand history through the lens of the humanities.
The Legislature's most important role in the arts it to fund public art every year. Ken will support that full funding.
(1) Arizona Commission on the Arts, "Building Public Value for the Arts in Arizona."