Dear Friends, Last week, Wake County Manager David Ellis presented his Fiscal Year 2021 Recommended Budget to the Wake County Board of Commissioners. The budget is now available here on the County’s website for public review and comment.

The United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County has been the local arts agency for Wake County since its official recognition in 1989. United Arts is funded through the Community Organizations pool (page 249 of the budget) which has been reduced from $3,494,028 in FY 20 to $500,000 in FY 21.

While we understand and recognize the magnitude of this crisis, we ask our elected officials to prioritize United Arts’ funding for FY 21.

Here is how you can be an advocate for United Arts:

STEP ONE: Submit your budget feedback here on Wake County’s website and ask that United Arts be cut no more than the proportional decrease in the County’s budget. Please use a positive tone! (Deadline: Before June 2, 2020)

STEP TWO: Contact your elected Wake County Commissioner directly and share this feedback with him/her. Don’t know who your Commissioner is? You can look it up here. Again, use a positive tone in expressing your opinion. (Deadline: Before June 2, 2020)

STEP THREE: Ask one friend to complete steps one and two, and tell that friend why United Arts is important to you!

Here are messages you can cut and paste, and feel free to customize and make these your own:

1) As a supporter and believer in the power of the arts, I am writing today to ask you to prioritize United Arts’ funding to enable vital arts access for 120,000 students and to sustain the services and support our arts and culture economy will need to survive this crisis and thrive. If cuts must be made, they should be no more than proportional to the County’s overall budget cuts.

2) Please prioritize United Arts funding because the arts mean business. The arts are a major economic driver for Wake County (19,873 full-time jobs and $27 million in local government revenue according to Arts & Economic Prosperity 5), and United Arts supported this work through 53 grants to organizations, municipalities, and artists this past year. Additionally, arts organizations are net payers to the County government through remitting sales tax on our tickets and concessions.

3) United Arts is the key conduit for arts education in the schools in Wake County through its Artists in Schools program which reaches 120,000 children annually, in addition to providing grants for afterschool and summer youth arts education throughout the county. Given the needs of children for social and emotional learning, especially vulnerable populations, this is not the time to make less arts programming available.


Thank you for your help and advocacy!

Mark Steward, Board Chair, United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County
Charles Phaneuf, President, United Arts Council of Raleigh & Wake County (919) 839-1498 x203