Arts advocates in the Berkshires are not happy with Governor Patrick's budget proposal. It includes a $1.5 million cut to the arts. Time Warner Cable News Reporter Madeleine Rivera has more on how the drop in funding would greatly impact multiple organizations in the Berkshires.
BERSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. -- The Berkshires has long been known as a mecca for art lovers.
"The cultural institutions and cultural programs are such a vital part of the economy," said Van Shields, Executive Director of the Berkshire Museum.
So, cuts are the last thing arts advocates want to hear.
"We're disappointed with the Governor's budget for the Mass Cultural Council because it has been reduced by $1.5 million from last year," said Megan Whilden, Pittsfield's Director of Cultural Development.
The Mass Cultural Council gives grants to several arts organizations throughout the commonwealth. Nearly every cultural institution in the Berkshires receives some sort of funding from the MCC, including the Berkshire Museum, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and Tanglewood.
"It's not a good idea to reduce funding to those institutions especially at a time when we're still rebuilding and coming out of this deep recession," said Shields.
The MCC's budget has decreased significantly over the past years. Ten years ago, it stood at $19 million. Patrick's budget proposal would bring that budget to $9.6 million.
"Where you'll see it the most really are in smaller organizations that are community based and important for the revitalization of our communities," said Whilden.
Arts advocates say funding for the MCC doesn't just benefit cultural organizations. It also brings growth to other aspects of the economy as more businesses become attracted to the downtown area.
"We have 50 new businesses downtown. We have over a half million people that go to our downtown to come to our art and entertainment events," said Whilden.
It's still not clear how the cuts will be spread throughout the different arts organizations in the commonwealth. And, that's only if the state legislature passes the governor's budget. But, advocates say you can expect a fight from them.
"There's no question in my mind that people will push back," said Shields.