HARRISBURG, July 14, 2009 – State Sen. Anthony H. Williams today joined Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania to protest proposed budget cuts to arts programs at a rally in the Capitol Rotunda.

“Art enriches minds, spurs creativity and gives people the opportunity to open their minds to artistic ability. No matter who you are or what your background is, the arts can touch us all,” said Williams, who is a member of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. “By cutting funding, vulnerable individuals are being robbed of their opportunity to benefit from arts programs.”

The Senate Republican 2009-10 budget proposal (Senate Bill 850) would eliminate all funding for the arts in the state. The $14 million originally proposed by Gov. Ed Rendell in his own budget proposal is still an 8 percent cut from the previous year’s arts funding.

Since 2005, the Council on the Arts has awarded roughly 1,400 grants each year to deserving arts groups, Williams said.

“Standing today with children and adults alike, it’s clear that people care about the arts,” Williams said. “It’s a shame that the governor had to cut funding for arts programs but it’s a crime that the Republicans simply obliterated it. Arts programs benefit the minds of school children, they stimulate the economy and they contribute to the beautification of our communities. We need to encourage more art, not dismiss it.”