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Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs budget update

Yesterday, Mayor Mike McGinn transmitted his proposed 2011-2012 budget to Seattle City Council. With the city facing an estimated $67 million budget shortfall in the coming biennium, all city departments have been asked to take a proportionate share of cuts to balance the budget and to prepare for the fiscal reality of the coming years. Accordingly, the City Budget Office and the Mayor’s Office have asked the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs to take an approximately 7.5 percent cut to our 2011-2012 budget.

If finalized by the City Council, these budget reductions will result in the reduction of 2.5 positions in our office; reduce Seattle Presents concerts and City Hall visual art exhibitions; eliminate the Mayor’s Arts Awards; and institute a ten percent across-the-board cut for Office funding programs, including the Civic Partners, CityArtists Projects and Youth Arts programs. The Mayor’s proposed budget also shifts about $1 million of Admission Tax revenue to Seattle Parks and Recreation to support and preserve community arts programming and provide relief to the General Fund.

There were no easy decisions to be made during this budget process, which has been extraordinarily difficult for all city departments. Despite these reductions, the Office remains well-positioned to deliver superb customer service and support to the Seattle arts and cultural community this year.

Under the established city budget process, the City Council will now review the mayor’s proposed budget and may modify authorized spending to reflect the City Council’s policy priorities and feedback from the public. City Council must complete its review of the proposed budget by the end of November, usually by Thanksgiving.

The Office is proud to partner with the community to promote arts and culture in Seattle. Together, our work ensures that Seattle’s vibrant and unique cultural sector will continue to grow and thrive. Thank you for your support!