Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Crucible, Oakland Calif.

I'm not one to push causes, but the arts in this country always get the short end of the stick. While living up north I spent some time at The Crucible in Oakland, one of the coolest spots in the east bay, bringing arts and industry together. The Crucible, Oakland Calif.


The Crucible and Oakland Arts Organizations need your help!

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. 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 and 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 $$$ 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.

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