Why is it that arts programs are always the first to be cut from budgets? In these difficult financial times, our arts programs are especially vulnerable. And it is up to us, the artists and patrons of the arts to fight for such programming to continue.
If you are not familiar with Youth City Artways, it is one of my favorite arts programs around town. It is run through Salt Lake City. Youth City Artways has a huge database of artists who teach for them, providing financial support for starving artists and important enrichment opportunities for kids. The program places the artists in the Youth City after school programs at Ottinger Hall, Fairmont Park, Liberty Park and Central City, teaching hour-long classes. The program also offers classes in community centers and libraries. I have taught dance, crochet and costuming for Youth City Artways and I had an amazing experience. I even taught an innovative and, well, crazy, class using dance as a carrot to get little girls interested in computers at the Sorenson Center. Youth City Artways teachers include some pretty amazing local artists including Tracy Strauss of Poor Yorick Studios, Maggie Beers, David Payne and Hillary Jean Van Moorleghem. Topics that are taught include film, animation, dance, book binding, visual arts and music. This is a comprehensive program that teaches critical skills. Youth City kids are not the rich kids, these are underserved kids who enroll according to a sliding fee scale.
On April 27, 2010, Mayor Ralph Becker released his new budget that aims to make up a budget deficit of $18.8 million dollars. Unfortunately, the budget would eliminate Youth City Artways effective July 1, 2010. The budget proposal is posted at slcgov.com under “Mayors Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Recommendation.”
So how do we fight for Youth City Artways? Please contact Mayor Becker and the City Council within the next 5 weeks and tell them to save Youth City Artways.
- You can speak at a City Council meeting held on Tuesdays at 7:00p.m. in Salt Lake City Council Chambers at 451 South State Street, Room 315. Meetings will be held May 11th, May 18th, May 25th (tentative) and June 1st
- You can write the City Council at email@example.com
- You can contact your City Council representative. To find out who this is, call (801)-535-7600
- You can write Mayor Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also express your opinions in a letter to the editor to the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News. Keep the letters short and submit them in the body of the e-mail, not as an attachment. Send to the Trib at email@example.com. For the D News, visit deseretnews.com/opinion/ and click on “submit your letters to the editor.”
Thank you for your work to preserve the arts in our town! Especially for the kids! For more info, visit the YouthCity Artways Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages#!/profile.php?id=1326384555&ref=ts