Bolstering state arts funding necessary


Judy Carter of the Chestnut Ridge area south of Seymour sews together T-shirts to make what she calls a T-skirt that will be auctioned off at the annual An Artful Affair fundraiser Sept. 29 for the Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour. Her first T-skirt features logos from downtown businesses, past and present. Another one is made out of Seymour High School sports T-shirts and the one she is sewing in the picture has a John Mellencamp theme.

Judy Carter of the Chestnut Ridge area south of Seymour models the skirt she made from old T-shirts from downtown businesses, past and present. The T-skirt will be auctioned off at An Artful Affair, Sept. 29, to raise money for Southern Indiana Center for the Arts in Seymour. Carter is a member of the art center and paints there every Wednesday.

The good news about the state of the arts in Indiana is that both candidates for lieutenant governor have announced their support for increased funding. The bad news is that the arts need a lot of funding in Indiana.

Both state Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, and state Rep. Sue Ellspermann, R-Ferdinand, were in agreement on that subject during a recent forum at Columbus City Hall, as reported last week in The Tribune.

Although their commonality on the subject has to be viewed in the context of the ongoing political campaign, it was especially good news to their audience, many of whom have more than a passing interest in the arts.

Their host, Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown, has made an increased focus on local arts a priority in her administration and noted during the forum that Columbus is in the process of applying to the Indiana Arts Commission for the designation of a Cultural Arts District.

Also welcoming the words of the candidates at the meeting was another individual with local ties — Lewis Ricci, director of the Indiana Arts Commission, who served as director of the Columbus Area Arts Council from 1991 to 1996.

The arts commission has been especially hard hit by budget cuts in the past few years. The total budget of the statewide organization has been cut 31 percent since 2006.

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