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Cultural Affairs Council Town Meeting on Federal, State and Local Arts Funding

On Wednesday, April 19th, the Cultural Affairs Council, the volunteer advisory board of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, convened a town meeting at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium regarding the status of arts funding at the federal, state and county levels. Cultural Affairs Council Chairman Adolfo Henriques provided an overview and action steps regarding county arts funding. Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Director Michael Spring covered state and federal support for the arts.

County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava made opening remarks and addressed the cultural community directly. She urged community and cultural leaders to contact their elected officials and to make their case positively and immediately.  Leaders of the Arts Action Alliance who were present at the meeting offered to take the lead in organizing the cultural advocacy efforts (contact the Alliance here).

Handouts and printed material included:


Cultural Affairs Council Chairman Adolfo Henriques gave an overview of the County’s FY 2017-2018 budget development process for the Department of Cultural Affairs’ budget.

  • FY 2017-2018

The proposed Miami-Dade County budget for the coming fiscal year, which is being prepared now by the Mayor, may include funding reductions due to the overall downturn in tax revenues. This could include reductions to grants programs and services for the arts. The proposed FY 2017-2018 County budget is scheduled to be released by the Mayor in June 2017.


Michael Spring, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, provided updates regarding the state and federal arts budgets as follows:


  • FY 2017-2018

The State Legislature is now in session to review and approve the State’s budget including funding for the Florida State Division of Cultural Affairs. See the status of the Florida House and Florida Senate recommendations here.


  • FY 2017

Like most federal agencies, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is operating under a FY17 Continuing Resolution, which ends on April 28, 2017. The NEA is facing cuts to federal grants funding for the current year proposed by President Trump, pending the resolution by Congress of government funding for the remainder of this year.

  • FY 2018

The Trump administration released the first official documents draft of their plan to fund the federal government for the coming fiscal year (FY 2018). President Trump’s proposal includes significant budget cuts (more than $54 billion in reductions to domestic programs in one year alone). The Administration’s proposal calls for eliminating four of America’s independent cultural agencies: the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. These recommendations are contingent upon review and approval of the budget by Congress.

More than 250 cultural, business and civic leaders attended the meeting. In addition to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, representatives from the offices of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez were present as well. Cultural Affairs Council members Mireille Chancy-Gonzalez, Xavier Cortada, Janá Sigars-Malina, Rosa Sugrañes, Monty Trainer and Dwayne Wynn joined Chairman Henriques in representing the Council at this meeting.

Chairman Henriques moderated a Q & A session with the public. Many groups expressed concern at the rising costs of cultural production and stated that a lack of growth of grants funding would severely and seriously impact not only the opportunities available for families and children served by Miami-Dade’s diverse cultural groups but also their ability to sustain their programs and activities.

Attendees commented on the fact that Miami-Dade County is achieving recognition as one of the world’s most exciting cultural destinations.  Community representatives acknowledged the County Mayor’s and Commission’s strong leadership in helping them get to this point. They underscored the catalytic role of the arts in providing outstanding arts education for children and families; in revitalizing neglected or forgotten neighborhoods; in establishing our community’s competitive edge for maintaining and attracting businesses; and in promoting our attractiveness as a sophisticated tourism destination.