In Tuesday’s (2/7) Texas Tribune, Christopher A. Smith and Andrew Weber report, “Gov. Rick Perry argued in his State of the State speech Tuesday that lawmakers should suspend funding for two state agencies—the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Historical Commission—because they don’t provide ‘mission-critical’ services. But what do they do? And what won’t get done without them? … The [Arts] Commission and its programs affect 2.2 million Texans statewide, said Gary Gibbs, the agency’s executive director—providing funding to a wide variety of events and programs, from the Austin Shakespeare Festival to the Amarillo Opera. It also provides marketing and promotional services to help rural Texas towns attract tourists. The commission also uses funds to promote arts in education, providing grants to Texas students across the state through its Young Masters program, which last year gave 22 students grants of up to $2,500 in financial assistance to pursue the arts for up to three years. ’The arts in Texas provide economic development and make our communities a better place to live,’ Gibbs said.”

Posted February 9, 2011