From the Director: Important Updates for the New Fiscal Year
New Hampshire’s FY10-11 budget became effective on July 1, 2009. The budget includes $602,787 in FY10 and $618,197 in FY11 for the State Arts Council (Division of the Arts) to be paid from the state’s general fund. In addition, the Arts Council has received notice of its FY10 partnership grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The NEA award is $771,500, which includes some restricted line items for such programs as Poetry Out Loud and Traditional Folk Arts projects. The federal grant requires a dollar for dollar match, so only $602,787 of the award can be spent in FY10, bringing the agency’s total budget to $1,205,574, down from $1,525,900 in FY09. However, the Arts Council has been awarded additional, one-time funding of $293,100 through the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARRA funding, which will be spent over the biennium, does not require a match. All but $50,000 of this money will go out as grants for arts job preservation.
Because of the ARRA funding, the Arts Council’s grant awards actually will go up in FY10. The impact of the state budget cuts falls on agency staffing and programs and services that rely on staff expertise. In FY09, there were nine staff members. In FY10, that number will drop to five with one of the five (Program Assistant) kept at full time with one-time ARRA funds. Staff positions that will not be fully funded in FY10 include: Director, Creative Communities Coordinator, Arts Research Specialist, and Grants and Contracts Technician.
Together, the people who are leaving represent over 43 years of service to the state’s arts community. Judy Rigmont, Creative Communities Coordinator, retired as of June 30th; Carey Johnson, Arts Research Specialist, transferred on July 1st to the Office of the Commissioner in a newly funded position to provide curatorial services to the Department of Cultural Resources; and Marjorie Durkee, Grants and Contracts Technician, will leave the agency in mid July. None of the positions left vacant by those retiring or leaving for other opportunities will be filled in the next two years. Please join me in thanking these staff members for their invaluable contributions the State Arts Council’s work.
In addition to the cuts currently in the budget, it is expected that more reductions will be necessary as the year progresses. Again, these will fall mostly on the remaining five arts agency’s staff rather than grants as the reductions will likely come in the form of mandatory furloughs, if not layoffs. Negotiations on the form these reductions will take are currently being negotiated between the Governor’s Office and the state employees’ union representatives.
The position of Director will also be changing. After 22 years with the arts agency, I will retire on September 30th. Funding for the position after I retire is partially restored in FY11. Commissioner Van McLeod will name an Acting Director for the interim starting on October 1, 2009.
I would like to thank all of New Hampshire’s artists and arts organization staff members for the many art-filled experiences that you allowed me to enjoy over the years. I have been privileged to serve you in your work of bringing the power, beauty, and fun of the arts to New Hampshire’s citizens. Through rain, ice storms, and hard times the flow of creativity that abounds in this wonderful, if sometimes challenging, state will not stop. The arts find ways to not just survive, but thrive. Even granite cracks to let flowers grow.
Rebecca L. Lawrence
July 2, 2009