“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.