For the second time this week, Executive Director Jill Love presented before the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee. On Wednesday, Jan. 31, she discussed the department’s four budget requests.
The full text of the approximately 10-minute presentation is below the embedded slide deck. You can listen to audio of the presentation here. You can also view or download a one-page summary of our budget requests, a.k.a. building blocks.
Opening Slide: Title
Thank you giving us the opportunity to discuss our budget building blocks this morning. My name is Jill Love, executive director of the Department of Heritage & Arts, and I’m joined by our finance director, Tenielle Humphreys.
SLIDE: Building Blocks
The Governor’s budget includes four building blocks for our department. These requests help three of our divisions better serve the state, strengthen the people and organizations we serve, and provide important funding to arts organizations and museums.
SLIDE: SCERA Theater
One of those organizations that has benefited from our funding and programs is the Sharon Cultural, Educational, and Recreational Association Center for the Arts in Orem. Commonly known as the SCERA, it was started in 1933 by local residents who realized that people, struggling in the depth of the Great Depression, needed a joyful place to gather. The founders envisioned a place where neighbors could be uplifted, and for more than 80 years that vision has been realized. Beyond joy, however, the theater and its family-friendly programming has contributed to the economic vitality and quality of life that has consistently made Orem one of the best places to live in America.
SLIDE: SCERA Theater 2
Each year, our Division of Arts and Museums gives a general operating grant to the theater. These grants provide needed economic stability to nonprofit organizations and gives them more flexibility to offer special services. Our staff takes great pride in distributing these grants, because they strengthen the foundation of organizations.
In the case of the SCERA theater, since 2014 they have provided a certified American Sign Language Interpreter for at least one night of every musical performance. During their outdoor summer concerts, they not only have reserved seating for wheelchair patrons in the center of the hill but also staff who deliver concession orders to the handicapped seating area. They also work with students to provide on-the-job training and offer a Cinema Classics series for people in assisted living centers.
SLIDE: DHA Revenue
Although we don’t directly fund any of these programs, our support of SCERA makes all of them possible. That can be said of many of our grants and programs, which are funded by a mix of federal and state dollars. But as you can see on this chart, nearly 10 percent of our budget also comes from dedicated credits, which is money we raise from sponsorships or contracts, including the Bookmobiles that serve 12 counties.
SLIDE: Flat revenue growth chart
We provide these grants and services, however, under an increasingly tight budget as our revenues have not kept pace with inflation. Since 2012, our revenues have only increased by 1.6 percent. Additionally, many of the cuts related to current expense and personnel that were made to our department during the recession were never restored. As a relatively new administration, we have spent a lot time reviewing the budgets of our six divisions to more fully understand their operations and needs. We have found that many of our program budgets are structurally imbalanced and lack the operational funds necessary to maintain existing service levels. But structural budget concerns aside, the department is doing great work and our strategic goals remain.
SLIDE: Gap chart
As we look at the budget for this year and for upcoming years, remedying this structural imbalance with targeted solutions that can maintain service levels will be an emphasis. All of our personnel requests this year reflect that emphasis.
SLIDE: Indian Affairs Request 1
An example of this structural imbalance is in our Division of Indian Affairs. This small staff of three lost an administrative assistant position during the 2009 budget cuts. Still needing this position, we were authorized in 2015 to hire a new administrative assistant with one-time carryover funds through 2017. During that time, it has become clear this position is essential for the division to plan and execute the equivalent of 16 mini-conferences every year, including the Native American Summit, Indigenous Day, Native American Caucus Day, and bi-monthly tribal leader meetings.
SLIDE: Indian Affairs Request 2
Beyond events, this person also provides administrative support to the division and tribes as they work with state agencies on consultation and projects. This is not creating a new position, only providing stable funding for a current critical position. Therefore, we are asking for $75,000 in supplemental and ongoing funding.
SLIDE: Collections Manager Request
A mandate for the Division of Arts & Museums is curating and preserving the state’s fine arts, folk arts, and public art collection. This includes acquiring new artworks, safeguarding art for installation in in state buildings, preparing Traveling Exhibitions, and researching existing pieces within the collection. We also want to be proactive about the donations of significant pieces of art to our collection and curating more public exhibitions that share this wonderful collection.
SLIDE: Collections Manager Request
Despite the wide variety of tasks, this job is primarily done by a person who splits her time with the Folk Arts program. Not only does that mean shared duties, it also means working in multiple locations — the Art House across from the Rio Grande Depot and the Chase Home Museum in Liberty Park. This has happened because of the structural imbalance, which requires adaptability among employees. Funding this full-time position at $90,000 ongoing will allow one person to focus exclusively on the collection and its associated duties and make both employees more effective.
At this time, I would like show an example from our collections. Jim Glenn, the Visual and Public Art program manager, has brought a beautiful painting by John Frey of “The Great White Throne” in Zion Park from the late 18th century. Frey, an Austrian immigrant known for his western landscapes, lived in Utah around 1890.
SLIDE: Forensic Anthropologist Request 1
Our third request is for $125,000 for a forensic anthropologist. This will provide a second person within the Division of State History for this essential position, which was underscored this summer near Vernal.
In August, a major road project in the Uintah Basin unearthed human remains that forced construction crews to halt. Within 24 hours, our forensic anthropologist was at the scene and within four days had determined that the remains were more than a century old, belonged to a child, and likely was part of a larger native family burial plot in the path of the road.
Because of this rapid response and analysis, the county was able to quickly reroute the road to avoid further remains and continue construction with only minimal interruption. Based on past experience, avoiding the remains saved the county $100,000 or more.
Our staff also worked with the Ute Tribe on a solution that avoided any further disturbance of the remains, which is culturally important to the tribe. Considering the economic, cultural, and social impacts of this discovery, an outcome that everybody considers reasonable — as happened in this case — is extremely valuable.
SLIDE: Forensic Anthropologist Request 2
For our forensic anthropologist, the work didn’t end after four days. Along with her many other responsibilities, she has worked with part-timers analyzing nearly five thousand artifacts recovered at the site — including scheduling time to work in December and January while on maternity leave. She also remained on call to respond to any new discoveries — which state law requires to happen within 48 hours — because she is the only person working for the state government that is legally certified to analyze remains, and only one of two in the entire state.
As our state continues to grow, we need to remedy this, for the state, for developers, and for the tribes.
SLIDE: Grant funding
Over the interim and even during Monday’s committee hearing, the issue of managed grants versus direct appropriations has been discussed by all of you. During the 2010 General Session the Legislature reduced grants to nonprofits in the amount of $287,000 dollars. While that funding was restored during the 2016 and 2017 general sessions, the demand has steadily increased. This request for $500,000 in ongoing grant money for arts and museums will continue to address a need for our Division of Arts and Museums to support arts organizations and museums while expanding the competitive grants process.
SLIDE: Grants vs Organizations
Increasing the competitive grants for all organizations will have a substantial impact. For example, the SCERA received $4,500 last year. While that may seem small, for many nonprofits even that amount provides essential stability for the organization and the communities they serve. Imagine the impact, especially in rural areas, if we could increase that amount by 10, 20, or 50 percent, while also providing funding for the many organizations that currently don’t receive grants.
When we provide grants, we invest in a community. We provide stability and ensure that local arts agencies and museums have resources that help them succeed. We improve quality of life and help build local economies.
Most important, we help local leaders create a sense of place for their residents.
As was demonstrated by the founding of SCERA, arts organizations and museums can support a community during tough times. But even during the best of times, those same organizations need sustaining support from government to thrive. Our grants provide some of that needed ongoing support.
All of our funding requests this year will support our efforts to provide tools and resources to local communities by serving local organizations efficiently and effectively.
Thank you again for the support you give us. We know you have difficult decisions to make.