• 2020 Tallahassee Drive-Up Wins Hearts for the Arts

  • 2020 Tallahassee Drive-Up Wins Hearts for the Arts

    2020 Tallahassee Drive-Up Wins Hearts for the Arts

    On Arts & Culture Day and Tourism Day in Florida’s Capitol, the Chamber took several executives and directors representing the local arts and culture community to visit lawmakers in Tallahassee. With the support of our sponsors, Spectrum’s Charter Communications and Rollins College, our group of 14 advocated for increased support for state-approved matching grant applications, sporting totes and materials that conveyed Art Is Good Business. It educates us, enlightens us and supports the local economy.

    Florida was once a leader in statewide cultural investments, ranked Top-Ten nationally for its cultural investments in 2015. However, a downward trend in state funding left Florida 49th in the nation last year. The Chamber has undertaken to lobby for increased funding ever since.

    These matching grant dollars play a critical role in meeting the programming and day-to-day needs of Florida’s art museums, performing arts stages, libraries and more. Locally, we are pleased to count 18 storied cultural entities that are the jewels of Winter Park’s crown. Their livelihood is important to patrons, students and visiting guests, and they boost our community’s economy. With every $1 that Florida invests, a $9 return is seen by our restaurants, hotels and shops. Indeed, art is good business.

    Our trip to Tallahassee January 22 was our second Capitol experience. It was a stimulating day, featuring 9 legislative meetings in all. House and Senate legislators and their staff welcomed us warmly. House Representative Anna Eskamani honored us with an introduction in the House Representatives from the House floor. We were pleased to meet again with the Governor’s Director of Cabinet Affairs, Beau Beaubien, who welcomed us back and appreciated the continued feedback on cultural spending from Winter Park. At each meeting, we saw clearly that our message is resonating. Funding increased last session and it is expected to increase again in the Governor’s budget as the 2020 legislative session closes.

    We appreciate the advocacy effort and enthusiasm of every person who attended: Debbie Komanski, Virginia Poe and Marty Creen, representing Albin Polasek Museum & Gardens; Betsy Gwinn and Dr. Blair Murphy with the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park; Peg Cornwell representing Rollins College; Dan O’Keefe, representing United Arts; Susan Skolfield with the Winter Park History Museum, Sabrina Bernat with the Winter Park Library, Lee Steinhauer, chair of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and Karen Skyers of Spectrum/Charter Communications.

    Thank you Senators
    Randolph Bracy
    Oscar Braynon
    Linda Stewart
    Victor Torres

    Thank you Representatives
    Anna Eskamani
    Mike LaRosa
    "Coach P" Plasencia
    David Smith

    Thank you Beau Beaubien, the Director of Cabinet Affairs at the Executive Office of Governor Ron DeSantis, for meeting with us as well.

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