Friday, May 16, 2008
For Funding the Fayetteville Arts Festival
Last year, the Fayetteville Arts Festival drew about 9,000 visitors to our city to explore and enjoy the wonders of local artists -- poets, painters, performers, and many more talents. Most of us enjoy the arts and the festival for the experience and because they are an essential part of what makes Fayetteville unique. That should be enough, but it is not. Despite the tremendous volunteer effort to produce and promote the Fayetteville Arts Festival, it is in danger of dying because of a lack of funding.
Last year, the Advertising and Promotion Commission awarded $35,000 for the arts festival; this year they gave it nothing. This seems like exactly the type of project the A&P Commission should be supporting. It builds on our image that they are charged with marketing, and it brings in visitors and their dollars for the local economy. It is more important than buying a building, expanding the size of the staff, or hording millions in reserve.
Alderman Lioneld Jordan is sponsoring a Resolution requesting that the A&P Commission contribute to funding the Fayetteville Arts Festival at the same $35,000 level as last year. It is on the agenda for the City Council meeting on May 20th. If you have an opinion about continued funding for the arts festival, you can contact your Aldermen or show up at City Hall next Tuesday to speak to the resolution.
Regardless of the vote of the City Council on Jordan's Resolution, Marilyn Heifner, executive director of the A&P Commission, said it will be up to the commission whether any funding is granted for the festival. The seven commission members who will make the final decision are Dan Coody, Bob Davis, Robert Rhodes, Neal Crawford, Tim Freeman, Maudie Schmitt, and Pat Gazzola. Here is their contact information (except the city website still lists former commissioner McGeady) if you wish to talk with them and let them know your views about supporting the arts in our community.
If the City Council and the Advertising and Promotion Commission will not support spending $35,000 to help the Fayetteville Arts Festival survive, that will be an indication of how serious they are about doing anything to support expansion of the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville.