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Oakland Cultural Trust

Arts Action at City Council at Special Budget Session
Thursday, April 1, 2010 - 7 pm

UPDATE 4/2/2010: The Oakland City Council responded optimistically to the Arts Action. Council Member Kernighan is on record for stating her support for a mitigated cut at 15%. Council Member De La Fuente stated he will not support the cuts to the Arts. Council Member Nadel stated that the Arts are an economic development tool and that the Arts bring people together. Council Members Brooks and Kaplan stated their support for maintaining the Arts.
The Council did not vote on the proposed cuts to the Cultural Funding Program. They did approve the previously agreed 15% cuts to elected officials' offices. The Council plans to vote on the City Administrator's recommendations for closing the budget deficit for FY2011 on April 29. The Oakland Cultural Trust will stay in communication with Council Members and will plan a presence at that April 29th meeting.

SF Chronicle Apr 8: Red ink paints harsh picture for arts grants

Oakland Tribune Apr 6: Massive cuts to arts on hold, but trims still a possibility

Streaming Video for Council's April 1 Budget Session

Proposed 25% Cuts in Updated Report for Budget Cuts for April 29 Budget Session (PDF Download...) Alert: pdf pages 2 and 7 of 30

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3 Step Call to Action
How to Fill Out Speaker Card
What's at Stake
Sample Letter/Email to Council
City Council Contacts
Key Talking Points
Speaking Tips
Advocacy Resources
About the Oakland Cultural Trust
Press Release (PDF Download...)

SAVE OAKLAND ARTS NOW! Stop the 50% Arts Cut!

The Council needs to hear from us again! When we raised our voices in October 2008 against the elimination of the City Arts Funding, the community prevailed. We are Artists, Patrons, Teachers, Parents, Youth, Cultural Workers, Business leaders, Families and Community members. WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

The Oakland City Council considers a 50% Cut to Oakland Arts at a special budget session on Thursday, April 1, 2010, 7:00pm. This is one move closer towards elimination of the Cultural Funding Program, the long-established, competitive City program to provide arts and cultural services reaching 1,416,435 people in Oakland.


  1. Get the Word Out! FORWARD this alert to constituents, colleagues, students, friends, families, neighbors, friends-of-friends-- Cut & Paste this alert or Share Facebook Alert

  2. CALL, EMAIL or Write your Council Member NOW! You can make the difference- Cut & Paste sample text or write your own message (See Sample below); Remain Positive and Respectful in your communications. We need the Council's support!

  3. Be There April 1 at 7:00 pm! TAKE ACTION & MAKE A DIFFERENCE during the special City Council BUDGET MEETING at City Hall, Sign-up for a Speaker Card online in advance (Item #8) - use your time or yield it. (See Tips & Talking Points below)

Sign-up for speaker cards at the meeting or in advance online -Agenda Item 8; Identify "Oakland Cultural Trust" as organizational affiliation on speaker card application. Print and bring receipt to Council meeting

***Strategy & Info Meeting at Pro Arts, Tuesday, March 30, 6:30 pm 150 Frank H Ogawa Plaza at Oakland Art Gallery Learn about public comment at Council, sign-up for a speaker card, review talking points, and get your message to Council!***

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What's at Stake: The City Council faces an unprecedented budget challenge. The additional proposed 50% cut to the Arts 1) is disproportionate, 2) stands to cripple the arts sector, and 3) significantly reduces City tax revenues.

Oakland is currently 13th in the nation for Arts Businesses per capita. For every $1 the City invests in arts and culture, local and state governement gets back $4 in fees, licenses and taxes. Nonprofit Arts in Oakland generate over $103 million in total gross annual economic activity and provide more than 5,000 jobs. The proposed cut means less revenue, more arts organizations closing their doors, loss of jobs and irreversible damage to the sector's infrastructure. The Arts are a means of economic investment and renewal for Oakland! STOP THE 50% ARTS CUT!

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Supporting Documentation & Resources:

SAMPLE Letter/Email:

Dear Council Member ________________,
Oakland Arts are the means to Oakland's economic renewal and are fundamental to our quality of life. It has come to my attention that the City Council is considering a disastrous and disproportionate 50% cut to the Cultural Funding Program.
As a concerned citizen, I understand that difficult choices need to be made to ensure that essential services and infrastructure remain in place. I also understand that there are no easy solutions to our budget crisis. However, I believe a disproportionate cut to the arts exacerbates the crisis, cripples Oakland's nationally ranked arts sector, and undermines our economic competitiveness, the compassion within our communities, and our investment in our future. I call upon you to mitigate the Arts cuts through a lens of equity and proportionality. Thank you for your leadership in investing in a better Oakland.

Council Contacts:

District 1, Jane Brunner,, (510) 238-7001;
District 2, Pat Kernighan,, (510) 238-7002;
District 3, Nancy Nadel,, (510) 238-7003;
District 4, Jean Quan,, (510) 238-7004;
District 5, Ignacio de la Fuente., (510) 238-7005;
District 6, Desley Brooks,, (510) 238-7006;
District 7, Larry Reid,, (510) 238-7007
At-Large, Rebecca Kaplan, (510) 238-7008

Not sure who your council member is? Click here to find out:

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Key Talking Points- Nonprofit Arts in Oakland

  • 13th in the nation for Arts Businesses per capita
  • Generates over $103 million in economic activity
  • Provides more than 5,000 jobs
  • Arts funding is a Low Cost Investment with High Economic and Cultural Return
  • Arts are a means of community and cultural development
  • Produces more than $ 4 million in revenue to local government
  • Art serves public safety, violence prevention and saves lives
  • A commitment to the arts is a commitment to cultural equity
  • Arts education contributes to academic success and increased skill development for youth
  • Art generates revenue; If the arts decline then businesses around the arts decline in a ripple effect.
  • Oakland benefits from one of the largest artist populations in the country
  • Art Cuts = Bad press for the City and undermine national and regional marketing campaigns

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Speaking Tips:

  • Slow down when you are at the microphone.

  • Speak clearly.

  • Do not speak longer than your time.

  • Prepare your remarks beforehand.

  • Make an argument for what you want the Council to do.

  • Be polite.

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Economic Impacts in Oakland (Americans for the Arts): (PDF Download...)

Oakland Ranked 13 in Nation for Arts Businesses per Capita (page 10): (PDF Download...)

Proposed Cuts: Report to Council - Alert item on page 13: (PDF Download...) Art Grants - 50% reduction; To be reviewed at Council Special Session, Thursday, April 1, 7pm

Revised Proposal for Budget Cuts for April 1 Budget Session (PDF...Download)

Agenda-Special Budget Session, April 1, 7:00pm - Item 8

Streaming Video for Council's April 1 Budget Session - Streaming Video:

Updated Report for Budget Cuts for April 29 Budget Session (PDF Download...) Current Recommendations for 25% cut to Cultural Funding Program from General Fund

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Advocacy Resources:

Americans for the Arts Talking Points:

Americans For The Arts General Response:">

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About the Trust

Membership Application and Guidelines

I Live for Oakland Arts/ Local Giving

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Press Release (PDF Download...)

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