American Shakespeare Center Faces Budget Cuts

Link: VCA faces huge budget cuts

“On Feb. 21, the Virginia House of Delegates’ Appropriations Committee voted, 15-7, to cut state funding for the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) by 50 percent in 2010-11 and to eliminate the agency altogether as of July 1, 2011.”

This is really bad news for the American Shakespeare Center considering they received $96,000 last year, which is about 15% of their budget. And they are hoping to get that same amount this year.

Now I may not be the brightest bulb on the tree, so correct me if I’m wrong. But I think $96,000 is probably nothing compared to how much money the Blackfriars, and the American Shakespeare Center bring into Staunton each year, in tourist and taxes.  I’d never have even heard of Staunton if it wasn’t for the Blackfriars. To me it would have been just another small college town. But now after going to the Blackfriars several times a year over the past few years, I’ve come to love the town of Staunton. We usually will arrive on Friday night at the Microtel, and catch a play on Saturday or Sunday. The rest of the time is spent shopping in the town, or hiking around the outlying areas.

I know it seems like an easy thing to eliminate the arts any time there’s a state budget crunch, but I really do believe it will end up costing the community in the long run.

If your heading up to Staunton any time soon, here’s an blog I posted a while ago with some tips:  Staunton VA, and the American Shakespeare Center. One of the best hidden spots in the world.

3 Responses

  1. You know, I wouldn’t know about Staunton at all if I hadn’t heard of ASC either. I came here to see the shows from California, and now I’ve relocated here and work for the American Shakespeare Center. Supposedly, the state and its small towns and cities want to attract or keep young people with degrees, but they keep shooting themselves in their feet. Yes, the ASC brings in a ton of money to the area. But what’s more important is that all the other state programs will see less funding because with a smaller tax base, there’s no money for them. . . I mean to say that without the “almost free money” tourism represents, there’s no cash to support any of the services the state provides. And if we don’t attract young professionals, it’s a downward spiral that’s really hard to reverse; ask any small city what their biggest problem is, and the smart ones will tell you that their biggest export over the last 40 years has been young people.

    • Sorry for taking so long, I just noticed you posted to the comments.
      > I mean to say that without the “almost free money” tourism represents there’s no cash to support any of the services > the state provide,

      I’d heard that ASC has added extra plays this year, I’m guessing that’s to help make up some for the budget deficit.
      Staunton is a beautiful town, but not very big. I noticed over the Winter that the economy has had an effect on some of the stores on along Beverley St. which obviously depend on tourism. I will certainly do whatever I can to help promote the Blackfriar’s, and Staunton. It is one of the few National Treasures that I can introduce people to, and ALWAY’s get an amazed and excited response back.

      For that matter my wife and I just purchased our tickets for the March 27th Henry VI show. The way this month was going I was afraid I was not going to be able to catch it. But the histories, from what I understand, are so rarely performed in sequance, I really didn’t want to pass up this chance.

  2. Thanks a lot Jamie!

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