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The Baltimore Small Stage Coalition opposes the recent proposed cuts to the Maryland State Arts Council's budget. Our open letter to the Board of the Department of Public Works is below: 

Dear Governor Moore, Treasurer Davis, and Comptroller Lierman,

We are writing on behalf of the Baltimore Small Stage Coalition to express our deep concern about the proposed $437,000 cut to the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) general allocation. As you know the arts industries have been devastated by COVID, changing funding mechanisms, and out of control inflation. Theater companies and arts organizations across the nation are closing in droves.

As representatives of smaller institutions, we rely on our general MSAC grants more heavily than our larger colleagues do. There are more of us that they support, and the art that we produce is more accessible to everyone in our state. Modest MSAC grants make up a larger part of our budget, and as we work with much lower overhead, those funds go DIRECTLY into transformative community engagement. 

This proposed cut would most heavily impact those of us who do the most with the least. We have no surplus staff positions to delay. We have no corners to cut. Meanwhile, there are quite a few much larger organizations with direct funding allocations in your budget that exceed your entire proposed budget cut for MSAC. This hardly seems fair or right. We don’t begrudge our larger colleagues the funding, but we don’t think it should be at the expense of community organizations or individual artists in our state. It is nowhere near equitable.

Small arts organizations are an essential ingredient of what is wonderful about Maryland and about Baltimore in particular. In fact, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore Center Stage, and Chesapeake Shakespeare Company all started as small organizations. Please do not devalue the importance or impact of neighborhood organizations. We create the overwhelming majority of art that is produced and experienced in our state.


The Baltimore Small Stage Coalition

          Donald Owens, Arena Players, Inc.
          Audra Mullen, Vagabond Players
          Fuzz Roark, A. H. Spotlighters Theater
          Laura Malkus, Fells Point Corner Theatre
          Elena Kostakis, Strand Theater Company
          Max Garner, Rapid Lemon Productions
          Patrick Staso, Baltimore Rock Opera Society

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