Op-Ed: Invest in our cultural community, vote yes to question 6

RI voters are urged to return to the polls to vote on several bond proposals aimed at creating jobs and new opportunities in our state. The polls are already open; the last day to vote is March 2sd.

I urge you to vote YES to question 6 of your ballot to provide much needed capital funds for the infrastructure of cultural and historic organizations. The bond is $ 7 million, of which $ 3 million will go to the RI State Council on the Arts and the RI Heritage and Historical Preservation Commission to be allocated through a competitive matching grant process. While $ 3 million is a large number, the statewide cultural community‘s capital needs exceed $ 70 million. This investment, while smaller than the others on this ballot, is just the start for organizations working to maintain and improve their homes so that they can welcome us again.

Nonprofit arts organizations and the artists they serve have suffered greatly during the pandemic. It is estimated that in RI, 87% of artists have lost their jobs. For a sector that brings in $ 2 billion to the state economy, this is a colossal loss, not only for the artists and the organizations that serve them, but for our economy as a whole. In our city, indoor shows have closed completely, museums are struggling to limit attendance, and entire festivals have been canceled. We all miss coming together for music or dance performances, seeing each other at openings and enjoying the splendors of Newport’s cultural and artistic heritage together.

Newport’s cultural institutions have, through their creativity, ingenuity and dedicated support, survived last year. But in order for them to regain their economic weight, to create and maintain good jobs, they need investments. Locally, Island Moving Company, the Newport Art Museum, and the Preservation Society all look to these funds for a fresh start. Recent history shows that investments like this pay off in the end, and more. Just six years ago, the Rhode Islanders approved the $ 35 million Creative & Cultural Bonds initiative which, over its lifetime, has helped generate nearly $ 90 million in construction activity and has created over 1,500 good long-term jobs. If the capital facilities that you, the voters, invested in in 2014 are any guide, this $ 3 million will generate three times that amount in construction jobs, as well as the increased employment that the facilities will require. enlarged.

If you like the arts like me, approving question 6 is probably a no-brainer. But even

if you have no interest in the arts, i hope you will always join me in voting YES on

Question 6 simply because it is in the best interest of our state.

The arts and culture are vitally important to us in Newport County – they attract tourists, they enliven our children’s education, they give us hope when everything seems bleak and bleak. Let’s invest in our cultural community. Don’t forget to vote, and Vote YES out of 6!

Dominique alfandre

Newport, RI

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