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Kansas City-area organizations prepare for city's proposed funding cuts

Black Archives o
Black Archives
Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 18:35:16-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several Kansas City-area organizations ranging from legal aid to cultural arts, will lose funding if a proposed budget for fiscal years 2021-2022 goes through.

These organizations are waiting to find out how much is on the chopping block.

"We will suffer," Carmaletta Williams, executive director of the Black Archives of Mid-America, said.

These words will likely ring true with any organization facing funding cuts. The Black Archives, along with Arts KC, the Kansas City Zoo, Legal Aid of Western Missouri, Visit KC, Starlight Theater and the Kansas City Film Office are on the list.

These cuts are brought on by the COVID-19 economic crisis.

"The Black Archives is an important asset to our community and we understand that, so it's important to us we stay positive and productive and progressive so that we can keep our work going here," Williams said.

The Black Archives house important and cultural material in Kansas City's Black community. The organization depends on the city for 40% of their budget.

The city is in charge of the building's maintenance and allocates $150,000 to the organization.

"We may take a hit right now but hopefully it will be resuscitated and we will get that money back," Williams said.

She hopes their new coffee shop and gift shop will bring in more revenue.

Arts KC awards $400,000 in grants every year to artists and smaller arts organizations, and 20% of that comes from the city.

"It is a critical part of their infrastructure, financially, that keeps them going so we hope to be able to mitigate cuts like this through other avenues but it's not always possible, and there will be some organizations that won't return," Branden Haralson, communications director for Arts KC, said.

Haralson said these funding cuts send a message: "That the arts are expendable, that the arts are routinely one of the first things to be chopped when there is budgetary considerations to be made."

The city is asking for people's input. The city is holding budget hearings on Feb. 20, Feb. 27 and March 2.