Arts Advocacy Day 2017 brought a crowd of arts organizations and their supporters to the steps of City Hall yesterday. They were trying to encourage the Supervisors to not only not cut funds to the city’s arts-supporting agencies, (Grants for the Arts and the San Francisco Arts Commission) but to increase those budgets in light of the recently released Federal budget, which would cut the money going to arts entirely.
Among those speaking were Supervisors Sandra Lee Fewer, and Jane Kim, who said: “As we take on the fight at Congress to defend the NEA, and the National Endowment for the Humanities as well, it’s not just important to say, ‘No more cuts’. And no more cuts here at the city and county of San Francisco as well for the arts community, but we need to increase that pot of funding, and we need it more than ever today.” Sarah Pritchard of SOMArts said “In a political climate that is just saturated with so much hateful rhetoric and policy decisions, now more than ever, we must support the power of the arts to bring people together, to challenge assumptions, and to shift people’s perspectives.” This sense of urgency was echoed by Jason Bayani of the Kearny Street Workshop who says the history of his Asian-Pacific American community can be understood through the arts. “The story was told not only in essays, articles, and history books, but poems. It exists in silkscreen prints, posters, paintings, photographs. It lives in the theater, literature, dance, music. This art was made because we were a community of artists experiencing it together.”