Letter: Arts and culture enhance our community

What are your neighbors talking about this week?

  • By
  • | 2:00 p.m. June 12, 2023
  • Ormond Beach Observer
  • Opinion
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Cultural grants make an impact

Dear Editor:

Recently, Volusia County Council Chair Jeff Brower proposed to eliminate arts and cultural grant funding to try to reduce rising expenses in the county budget. An outcry ensued from many citizens, including from me.

I emailed all six council members urging them to continue supporting the 34-year-old community cultural grant program, which funds more than 32 local arts, cultural and historical nonprofits. I earnestly encouraged them to continue to support grant funding for the arts, humanities, preservation and education of history in our Volusia paradise. 

We are so fortunate indeed to enjoy such a magnificent quality of life in our county so enhanced by our manifold cultural opportunities and events. You know what so many of them are. Culture really refines our ability to appreciate the joy of the arts, humanities and history, thereby adding that intrinsic dimension to enhance the quality of our lives. 

Furthermore, you may recall the adage, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” People need more than material things to truly live. They need not just food but also poetry, art and music to live happily.

And, what a boon to our economy! From an economic perspective, you cannot overlook the very positive 2.6-times “Return on Investment” for just $2 per household per year, as documented by the impacted nonprofits. Why, this is a pittance, especially considering some people spend $7 for a latte without a second thought. In fact, since this funding is such a boon to our economy, the council should consider increasing the level of cultural grant funding. 

I told the council members that the next time they, their family or friends attend a cultural event in our county, they should congratulate themselves on enhancing the joy of living in our paradise. Only Councilman Robins replied, and positively so that same day.

The council then met on June 6. Almost 40 county residents with only one exception spoke forcefully in support of this grant program. Interestingly, every councilman voted unanimously to continue funding it. 

This is an excellent example of our citizenry arising to voice their opinions quickly when important issues are at stake. After all, the councilmen are there to serve our best interests and not only the views they have. We should thank them for their support, and continue to be vigilant in protecting our quality of life.

Jerry A. Valcik

Ormond Beach


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