Hundreds of San Diegans rallied in front of the City Administration building Monday morning to protest a proposed 31 percent cut to the arts in the coming fiscal year budget.
The proposed fiscal year 2017 - 2018 budget would reduce funding from $14 million to $10 million for arts, culture and community festivals.
Supporters from organizations across San Diego, like the San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition, San Diego Museum Council and more, came out for the "Rise Up for the Arts" event, asking the City Council and Mayor to reconsider the cuts.
"We’re concerned these 31 percent cuts are going to be devastating to a wide range of the programs that matter most to our neighborhoods, to our schools," Allen Sidecar, with the San Diego Arts and Culture Coalition, told City Councilmembers at Monday's budget hearing.
The mayor proposed a cut to the arts as a way to help deal with the 2018 deficit. The 2018 proposed budget is $112 million, almost a one percent increase from the previous year.
Back in 2012, the Penny for the Arts 5-year blueprint was created to restore arts, culture and community festivals. The blueprint got nearly 10 percent of the city transient occupancy tax money.
This year's proposal would reduce that by less than half, meaning organizations who get these funds would have a smaller allocation given to them.
James Castaneda, a San Diego resident, called arts a unifying force, adding that cutting funding would cause long term damage.
"It’s what drives community…arts is a mean for teens, whether they're troubled, whatever they have going on, to vent, to put how they're feeling into something constructive," Castaneda said.
Supporters said the proposed cut in funding would not be something arts organizations across San Diego could make up for in private donations.
"These funding cuts are way too drastic, they can’t really turn back on their word," said Jennie Grunstad, with the New Children's Museum. "We need to be out here, support the arts; kids need art, grownups need art too, and we’re out here to stand up for what we believe in."
She stood in front of the City Administration building, along with hundreds of others, on Monday morning, rallying with a sign in her hands.
Grunstad said the cuts would be devastating to arts in San Diego, a field crucial to the community.
"People are much more successful when they have access to art, especially as children," she said. "We really need this funding for the arts, it’s more important than anything."