At Mike Lange’s final board meeting at as Executive Director of the Wyoming Arts Council, he delivered a talking points memo. On the bright side, the memo speaks to the role of the state’s creative economy as a driver of community and economic strength, health, and resilience. On the down side, it tells the story of an office that could soon cease to exist despite the remarkable return to the state through local economies.
Here are three key topics to consider, with bullets from the memo’s talking points:
1) Wyoming Arts Council possesses the knowhow and has long been the leader in understanding and developing the state’s creative economy.
- There are significant opportunities and the ability to improve the state’s “creative economy” sector to the benefit of all Wyoming communities, and in pursuit of solving the state’s most pressing problems.
2) The Arts Council offers a great return on investment, especially when it is adequately funded.
- Since the 2010 biennium budget and accounting for inflation, the Wyoming Arts Council has seen a 49% decrease in state funding. This includes a 30% decrease in staffing positions, bringing the arts council FTE from 10 to 7.
- Additional funding would be directed into three categories:
- Workforce Development
- Staffing Capacity Shortfalls
- Funding to Wyoming Communities
3) It is urgent that action be taken to sustain the arts council above the bare minimum matching requirements.
- Since its inception, the Arts Council funding was about 65% state budget funding and 35% federal funding. As of 2013, the funding for the arts from the state has dwindled to 50%. This leaves the arts council barely making their budget match.
- Without a legislatively approved budget increase the arts council stands to not have any funding for the arts in the near future.
View & Download The Memo