Hillsborough Commission rejects a call to defund the Arts Council

Share
Cepeda speaks at a Hillsborough County Commissioners meeting // Credit: Chris Young, Sep. 7 2023

Listen:

The Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners rejected a proposal to defund the Arts Council during a meeting Thursday. The ruling is a win for local arts and culture groups that benefit from the county’s funding.

The Arts Council was formed in 1989. It gives thousands in grants to arts and cultural initiatives in Hillsborough County. This year some grantees include a photography workshop for veterans and a community theater company. WMNF received some funding from the council.

County Commissioner Donna Cepeda recommended getting rid of the Arts Council.

“Yes, the arts is awesome. But, as you can see here, we have many things – that we’re behind – that we need to take care of in this county.”

The arts department has the lowest operating budget of all county departments.

Most members of the public spoke out against the proposal during public comment.

Karla Hartley represents Stageworks, a Tampa theater company.

“It’s so important that we’re rearing children to have critical thought process – to engage in arts and culture because if the children of our communities are not engaging in arts and culture, when they grow up there’s no reason for them to seek it out in the first place.”

However, Commissioner Joshua Wostal wanted the Arts Council abolished.

“We are now finding endless excuses to utilize funds for personal wants.”

But Commissioner Harry Cohen called it an investment in the county.

“This is money that is really well spent. Its money that helps us attracts corporations, and attract jobs, and attract tourists.”

The commissioners voted 4-3 on an alternative proposal, leaving in place funding for the Arts Council.

You may also like

Hurricane Idalia
New Florida law will require flood disclosures with home sales

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed nine bills, including one to require...

padlock and chains
FEA criticizes Florida for keeping a history standard touting the benefits of slavery

A standard says, “Instruction includes how slaves developed skills which,...

Tampa Bay
The Florida Senate President and Secretary of State dispute that Tampa Bay districts are racially gerrymandered

Kathleen Passidomo's attorneys said, “The allegation that race was the...

A realistic satellite graphic of hurricane moving toward Florida.
Pinellas County emergency management prepares for this hurricane season

This hurricane season, Pinellas County plans to focus on getting...

Ways to listen

WMNF is listener-supported. That means we don't advertise like a commercial station, and we're not part of a university.

Ways to support

WMNF volunteers have fun providing a variety of needed services to keep your community radio station alive and kickin'.

Follow us on Instagram

The Morning Show Thursday
Player position: