Urgent Call to Help Oakland Artists and Organizations

Filed Under Art, SF Bay Area on 2008-10-20, 13:12

An email from Michael Sturtz, the founder of The Crucible, went out recently detailing a threat to the Oakland Arts Community that could significantly affect the Bay Area art community as well. We need to act quickly because the City Council meeting is Oct 21st. I’m reposting below:

Hello everyone,

Please read this message, the future of Arts in Oakland and The Crucible hangs in the balance.

The City of Oakland’s Cultural Arts Funding in about to get cut from the City’s budget. The Crucible has already been awarded two years of funding, that is about to be taken away, due to budget cuts. Our budget has been built around having these funds because they were awarded moths ago and now we will have to severely cut expenses to make ends meet.

Here is how you can help The Crucible and all the other Oakland Arts Organizations:

1.) Forward this urgent email to as many people as possible.

2.) Sign the online petition at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Oakland_Arts_Funding/index.html

3.) Come to the City Council Meeting on Tuesday October 21st!

4.) Contact a Council Member and let them know how important the arts are to you!

Here is some more info:

Funding for the Cultural Arts and Marketing Department is on the chopping block and will be voted on by the Oakland City Council this Tuesday, October 21. The meeting begins at 6pm and this topic is currently Item 19 on the Agenda, so it could be a long night. Grant funding is in jeopardy, as are all of the staff positions. This is a serious threat to a thriving but already under-funded community. We do understand that the City’s finances are in a dire situation, but the fact of the matter is that the cultural arts department has historically borne more than its share of cuts and now represents only .4% (4/10 of 1%) of the overall city budget, yet serves 6,273 children and youth through the art in the schools program (most of whom would not have access to arts without these programs), and another 957,650 people through performances, events, etc. Not only will department staff lose their jobs: staff an d teachers in the already-fragile arts sector will also lose jobs. The arts are not a luxury! Children and youth who participate in arts programs and learn positive ways to express themselves are less likely to engage in unsafe or criminal activities. Neighborhoods with visual and performing arts venues bring in $$s to the local economy, help prevent crime and violence by “keeping the lights on”, and add to the overall quality of life in our city.

If The Crucible has made a difference in your life or someone you know, please join us to make our voices heard. TOGETHER, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

There are currently three council members who are opposed to cutting arts funding: Nancy Nadel, Jane Brunner, and Desley Brooks. All other council members have indicated that they will vote to cut the program. Please don’t let this happen!! Contact your council person immediately (preferably before Monday) and let them know that cutting the arts program is unacceptable. Also, let the three council members that support the arts know how much you appreciate their support. Below is contact info for each of the district council members:

District 1, Jane Brunner, jbrunner@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7001;
District 2, Pat Kernighan,pkernighan@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7002;
District 3, Nancy Nadel, nnadel@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7003;
District 4, Jean Quan, jquan@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7004;
District 5, Ignacio de la Fuente. idelafuente@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7005;
District 6, Desley Brooks, dbrooks@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7006;
District 7, Larry Reid, lreid@oaklandnet.com, (510) 238-7007
At-Large, Henry Chang, Jr., cityochang@aol.com

Not sure who your council member is? Click here to find out: http://www.oaklandnet.com/oit/CDST/DistMain.cfm

Please forward this to your staff, board, friends, students, their parents, your mailing list, etc. It is our responsibility to make our voices heard – and to let the officials know that we represent a larger portion of the public than they think!

Here’s a link to the evite:

I know that you are all really busy and I appreciate your time.
Thank you in advance for getting involved, We really need your help.

Michael Sturtz
Founder / Executive Director

UPDATE: Funding was not cut! :) Thanks to everyone that helped protect the Oakland art scene.

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