Speak out at an upcoming Finance Committee and full Council meetings
Share this on social media to help us raise awareness, and encourage others to join in in the advocacy effort.
Write to City Council members NOW and convey your support as a friend and supporter of the Art Center
Sign this Change.org petition and encourage City Council to reject the cuts to our Youth and Children Programs
Update as of May 21, 2021
Thank you so much for your incredible support of our advocacy effort. Many of you have written to Palo Alto City Council, signed and shared the petition, posted on social media to help raise awareness, and spoken at the recent Finance Committee budget hearing meetings. You might have heard that the City Council responded in our favor and it looks like we have escaped the proposed FY22 cuts, pending labor concession!
While we are tremendously excited about this positive development, this is NOT the time to let up our effort. Things could still change between now and the budget adoption on June 21. We hope some of you will be able to join us on Tuesday morning for the Finance Committee Final Budget Wrap Up meeting and share the following talking points:
FY2022 Proposed City Budget Cuts
Last year's budget cut was the largest in Art Center’s 50-year history and the Art Center Staff is the smallest it has ever been. Loss of staff across all program areas has dramatically impacted program scale and delivery in FY21 and for years to come
At this current staff level, maintaining the pre-pandemic level of programming will not be possible. There will be significant challenges ramping up programs and operations with our current resources, let alone additional FY22 cuts.
The survival of the Art Center is at risk, our current viability is tenuous and will be made more so by additional reductions. The future of the Art Center is at stake.
FY22 Budget eliminates all City support for the Art Center’s exhibition program for the first time in the Art Center’s fifty-year history, eliminating the program. Exhibitions have been a core program of the City since the Palo Alto Community Cultural Center’s founding in 1971, serving an average of 30,000 people annually through free admission.
Volunteer and Internships
This budget reduces the scope of the Art Center’s volunteer and internship program which currently engages 800 active volunteers who work in all areas of operations. The Art Center's paid internship program will likely need to be reduced due to a reduction in hours of volunteer coordinator staff.
With the elimination of the exhibitions program, the Art Center’s popular school tour program, Project Look will be significantly reduced. Project Look includes an inquiry-based gallery tour at the Art Center followed by a related hands-on art activity. With this action, the Project Look program will need to be restructured, resulting in reduced tours.
FY 2022 budget eliminates Cultural Kaleidoscope, an artist-in-the-schools program that links the neighboring and diverse communities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and Menlo Park, by building bridges through the arts and partnering with K-5 classrooms.
Teen and Family Programs
All teen programs and all free Family Day programs will also be eliminated. In FY19, teen programs at the Art Center engaged 137 teens with movie nights, art workshops, and virtual trivia nights. Family Days provide free artmaking opportunities for community members, typically occurring three times per year and drawing 250-600 people at each event.
Visitor Service and Operating Hours
In FY 2021 the Art Center lost multiple Visitor Services staff members resulting in a Tuesday - Saturday operating schedule. FY2022 budget reduces the last remaining Visitor Services Staff to .75 FTE and further reduces the open hours to a Wednesday - Saturday schedule.