One of the top priorities we heard from citizen artists during our listening sessions last year was the need for access to affordable housing and workspace. Baltimore Housing Roundtable is leading the charge for fair development in Baltimore with their 20/20 Vision. Building on voter approval of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund during last fall’s election, BHR is now pressing forward with the #UnitedNotBlighted campaign. Will you join us to advocate for affordable housing in Baltimore?
The event will be hosted at the Baltimore War Memorial building from 2 to 5 PM on Saturday, May 13th. BHR will feature storytelling about displacement due to environmental injustices, neighborhood gentrification, and disinvested and blighted housing, and then issue a challenge to Mayor Pugh to invest in community-driven, equitable development. The event will be interspersed with musical performances and will end with a march on City Hall.
Together, we will demonstrate the imperative to put 20 million dollars in the the bond budget next year for deconstruction of vacant houses, greening, and environmental sustainability projects, and 20 million for the creation of permanently affordable housing through community land trusts. This event will launch us into our mass mobilizing phase of the campaign- sending all of us out to share the 20/20 campaign and gather thousands of petition signatures in support.
Congress has reached a bipartisan agreement on a bill to fund the nation’s federal agencies and programs for the remaining balance of the current FY2017 fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2017. None of the nation’s arts and cultural agencies nor programs incurred a budget cut. In fact, many of them received funding increases for this year (see chart below here). As you will see from the chart, not only was there no cut to the NEA’s current fiscal year budget, but our champions in Congress actually proposed a $2 million increase!
This great news is just one example of how all of your grassroots arts advocacy efforts of sending thousands of letters, emails, phone calls, personal visits, op-eds, news articles, targeted advertising, and research proved effective. Arts advocates like you sent over 160,000 emails through American’s for the Arts’ (AFTA) Action Center. Thank you for your tireless work!
FY2017: Both chambers of Congress will next vote on this bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations bill before it proceeds to the President’s desk for him to sign/veto by this Friday, May 5th. Despite the President recently proposing funding cuts to many of these cultural programs (i.e. $15 million cut to NEA), it appears that he will sign the bill.
FY2018: Please note that the FY2018 appropriations bill for funding the federal government from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018 is still very much in play and going through the legislative process. This is the bill that the President recommended eliminating the NEA, NEH, IMLS, CPB, etc. We remain focused on getting all of these agencies fully funded as well in the coming months.
AFTA’s #SAVEtheNEA campaign continues to go strong to advance the FY2018 message to Congress and the White House. Please consider sending a #SAVEtheNEA message to your Congressional delegation as well as supporting our advocacy campaign efforts with a contribution. Click here to craft a message to your Congressional lawmakers and make sure your voice is heard!
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The next meeting of the Mayor’s Safe Art Space Task Force is this Tuesday, April 4, 4pm, at Maryland Institute College of Art – 300 W Mt. Royal Ave, Room M110.
The Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Art Space is working to create a citywide network of safe, cost effective, contemporary, living, live/work, studio, and performance spaces for emerging and established artists. They need your input! The Task Force integrates the perspectives of artistic, design, development, financial, regulatory, and revitalization exports to develop strategies, identity resources, and propose a programmatic framework that will develop and sustain spaces that protect the safety of artists and patrons, while meeting the logistical and technical interests of today’s performers and audiences.
Click here to find out about upcoming task force meetings.
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With over 100 participants in attendance, last week’s City Civics 101 event at Impact Hub Baltimore was a great success. City Council member Kristerfer Burnett explained how Baltimore City government and processes function, while community organizers and shared strategies for civic engagement at the issue, neighborhood, and city levels. In case you missed it, here are more resources:
Moderated by journalist Roberto Alejandro, PhD, JD, and creator and publisher of Stay Up News (http://stayup.news/)
* Kristerfer Burnett, Baltimore City Council (https://www.krisburnett.com/)
* Graham Coreil-Allen, Public Artist and Citizen Artist Baltimore Cultural Organizer (http://citizenartist.vote/)
* Christopher Ervin, President & Founder of The Lazarus Rite (http://thelazarusrite.org/), Advocate for criminal justice reform, the constitutional nature of felony disenfranchisement and the state of expungement in Maryland and across America.
* Shirley Foulks, A master youth development practitioner, Ms. Foulks has dedicated her life to the whole child healthy development of children and youth in her Cherry Hill community.
* Adriana Foster, Community leader and organizer with United Workers (http://www.unitedworkers.org/)
Special Thanks to the organizers and consultants: Michelle Geiss, Molly Reddy, Ryan Dorsey, Stephanie Joyal, Graham Coreil-Allen
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**City Civics 101, 6-8pm March 7, 2017 at Impact Hub Baltimore, 10 East North Avenue Baltimore, MD 21202**
How does city government function? How do we move from ideas to action? What tools and tactics are most effective for making change at the city level? City Civics 101 attempts to answer all of these important questions in one action-packed evening.
Come learn about how city government and processes function from a City Council member and experienced Baltimore organizers– at the issue, neighborhood, and city levels. Join us for a panel discussion moderated by journalist Roberto Alejandro, PhD, JD, and creator and publisher of Stay Up News (http://stayup.news)
Christopher Ervin, President & Founder of The Lazarus Rite (http://thelazarusrite.org/), Advocate for criminal justice reform, the constitutional nature of felony disenfranchisement and the state of expungement in Maryland and across America.
Shirley Foulks, A master youth development practitioner, Ms. Foulks has dedicated her life to the whole child healthy development of children and youth in her Cherry Hill community.