Budget Crunch Hurts Arts Groups

The state’s tremendous budget deficit is leading to dramatic changes for Michigan arts organizations.

Last week, the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs sent grant money to more than 160 arts groups across the state.

The grants add up to just over $1.5 million.

Last year, the council awarded almost $8 million.

Back in 2001, it granted more than $25 million to state arts organizations.

The Marquette Arts and Culture Center received $7,500.

Several years ago, it was consistently receiving more than $20,000.

Center director Nikki Nason says while they’re certainly pleased they’re continuing to receive at least some funding, it does mean they’ll have to scale back on what they do.

Nheena Weyer Ittner of the U.P. Children’s Museum is one of the members of the Council.

She says arts spending drives other kinds of commercial activity, so it’s also bad news for the group to not be able to give out as much funding anymore.

The Council sent grant money to nearly twice as many groups last year as it did this year.