Local arts community worries governor will cut Kentucky Arts Council funding

The local arts community is blowing up social media, worried that Gov. Matt Bevin will cut funding for the Kentucky Arts Council in Tuesday night’s budget address.

"Paducah is a very vibrant arts community," says Daniel Sene. That’s also the reason why Sene said "yes" when he was asked to be the executive director of the Paducah Symphony Orchestra.

"It’s hard to go anywhere and not notice the art presence in Paducah," says Sene.

Sene says big thanks go out to the Kentucky Arts Council. Each year, he says, the symphony receives nearly $20,000 in grant money from the arts council. They use that money to help fund programs for local kids and teens.

However, there’s speculation that Bevin is slashing the council’s funding.

"It’s hard to imagine Kentucky without its arts council," says Sene. "They have done such good work, and we rely on them."

While our state lawmakers are in Frankfort waiting for the governor to give his budget address, we spoke to state Rep. Gerald Watkins and state Sen. Danny Carroll over the phone. Both say it’s too soon to speculate what’s in that budget.

"Without actually seeing his budget, there’s no way to know for certain right now," says Carroll. "I would hate it if that happened. I know how important the arts are to our state."

Watkins says the arts also brings visitors to the state.

"If it is true, I’ll be very disappointed that he doesn’t realize the importance of tourism in Kentucky," says Watkins. "It’s the third largest industry as far as bringing in revenue."

Sene says over the past 50 years the Kentucky Arts Council has helped strengthen the local arts community.

"I can’t imagine another 50 years without them," says Sene.

A spokesperson for the Kentucky Arts Council says they’re aware of what’s being said, but wouldn’t comment any further.

We did reach out to Bevin’s office, but have not heard back.

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