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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 26, 2009 at 5:05 PM

Arts fund

Benefiting the community and economy

The $787 billion economic-stimulus bill passed by Congress and recently signed by President Obama includes an appropriation of $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It took a concerted effort by a group of congressional leaders, including Rep. Norm Dicks to secure this funding.

Washington state is fortunate to have a congressman like Dicks, who understands the benefits cultural organizations provide to the community and economy.

Puget Sound cultural organizations generate approximately $1.7 billion in annual statewide economic activity, create 41,000 jobs and over $700 million in wages.

We have state legislators who also understand how important cultural experiences and programs are to people and communities. They are sponsoring a measure to expand access to these organizations across Washington state.

House Bill 1666 and Senate Bill 5786, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Kenney and Sen. Karen Fraser, would allow counties across the state to create Cultural Access Funds to increase access to cultural experiences for children, families and individuals.

Cultural Access Funds would expand public access to these organizations through free days, discounted tickets, free transportation for public-school groups and education programs for students.

It will be up to the voters of a county or group of counties to form a Cultural Access Fund. We applaud all our leaders’ efforts to give people access to culture and the arts in tough economic times.

— Ann Wyckoff, Shoreline

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