This morning’s Detroit News has an article previewing Gov. Granholm’s State of the State address set for tomorrow night. It states that Granholm is expected to propose cutting officials’ salaries, state departments and the Michigan State Fair. Cutting the State Fair will no doubt bring about a nostalgic call to arms — many Detroiters and Michiganders have fond memories of the fair — and crafters have a legacy of handmade arts to protect. (Check out our visit here.)
But, disturbingly, the story also contains this half sentence:
“… Granholm will propose scrapping the 226-employee, $52.2 million Department of History, Arts and Libraries this year.”
Unfortunately, the story does not elaborate — and so far we are unable to find more info on this proposal. If you’re not familiar with the Department of History, Arts and Libraries, today would be the day to do so as it may need your support very soon. From HAL’s web site:
“The mission of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries is to enrich quality of life and strengthen the economy by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan’s heritage and fostering cultural creativity. The department includes the Library of Michigan, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the Michigan Historical Center.”
We may be jumping to conclusions here, but for a governor who has championed the strength of the creative class to rebuild our state, cutting the department who is responsible for much of that mission is unthinkable. As our state struggles along, there has been a lot of chatter lately about the fight for arts funding. At times it seems that when we most need it, opportunities for artist growth are dwindling. Part of Michigan’s recovery is through the hands of our state’s artists and preservationists — and we have to wonder: How much more damage would losing HAL do to our state’s artistic and creative future?
If you have more information, a story link, a rant of your own or want to start a grassroots letter writing campaign, please get in touch via the comments. Let’s get this conversation started!