Florida Department of State launches "Culture Builds Florida" listen10/25/11 Josh Holton
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Floridaâ€™s Secretary of State announced the launch of Culture Builds Florida today. Almost 200 artists and businesses attended the launch of this initiative to help promote Floridaâ€™s arts and cultural communities, and their positive impact on the economy.
Arts and cultural programs are usually the first thing on the chopping block when the state of Florida whittles down the budget, but Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning said that arts help create jobs and boost the economy.
Robert Stackhouse and Carol Mickett are two local artists who have benefited from public and private commissions. Mickett was speaking at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Tampa, which has also displayed some of her work.
Americans for the Arts is a national advocacy organization. Their Vice President of research and policy Randy Cohen said that art exhibitions and installations bring in big money to the state of Florida.
And he said that most of that money doesnâ€™t even include admission prices.
State Senator Nancy Detert represents the City of Sarasota, home to the Ringling Museum of Art, which is a nationally renowned destination. But she said that support for the arts extends far beyond museum walls.
In addition to tourism, State Representative Rich Glorioso said that an arts culture is essential to attracting businesses to the region.
But even as businesses want good opportunities for education, Florida Governor Rick Scott has denounced state universities for having what he considers too many liberal arts programs operating on the stateâ€™s dime. He has criticized anthropology majors in particular, whose main purpose is to study and understand human culture. But Kurt Browning said that studying art and culture in school can still help students in other degree programs too.
Browning praised the City of St. Petersburg for hiring an arts consultant at $100,000 per year, and said he would continue asking the state legislature to allot more funding for arts and cultural programs.
Florida State Representative Seth McKeel, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and City Council member Yvonne Yolie Capin were also in attendance. To learn more about the initiative, go to culturebuildsflorida.org.
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