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Arts Supporters Worried

Arts Alliance Illinois

Hundreds of Illinois residents met in Evanston last week to discuss the state of the arts. Budgets and diversity in arts groups were two of the leading topics. The state budget impasse, which has resulted in the state museum system being closed, was an often-heard lament. 

The state might end up appropriating no money to arts agencies this year. That's because of the stand-off between Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and Democratic state leadership. Ra Joy heads Arts Alliance Illinois, an advocacy group. He says artists are essential to economic growth and making communities viable and vibrant.

"It's really about putting people first, really about meeting people where they are. A lot of people right now on the political trail are talking about building walls. Our artists build bridges. And so this notion of putting people first is really top of mind." Joy says while the news about state funding is dire, arts groups will find creative ways to stay afloat.