Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clarification on Today's Middletown Press Article

Dear Friends,

An article published in today’s Middletown Press (DARE Program Slashed From Proposed Budget) wrongly took words that were not mine and attributed them to me.

In the article, it appears as though I was speaking about tonight’s city budget hearing. In fact, I was not interviewed for the story. The information attributed to me was actually taken from an email I received (and forwarded to NEAT’s members) from Dic Wheeler, of Artfarm.

I do believe that it is important that people come out and speak about the proposed budget, but NEAT’s positions is slightly different from Artfarm’s. I’d like to take a minute to explain our positions.

NEAT is most concerned about funding to the Summer Arts Programming and the City's Matching Grant Program.

As for summer arts, families that live in the North End would be most affected by any changes to the sliding scale that is offered for summer arts programming. Many North End kids take part in those programs, run through the city Arts Office (including the Summer Circus), and wouldn't be able to if not for the financial aid that is offered. For many parents, the summer program is the only affordable option, giving kids a chance to participate in summer programming, and parents a way to work. It must be maintained.

Additionally, NEAT receives funding through the Middletown Commission on the Arts and the Youth Services Bureau for our Arts in the Garden Series and our Youth Leadership Initiative. If the matching grants and after school challenge grants ratio is changed to 4:1, small organizations like NEAT (there are a lot of us in Middletown!) would be unable to participate, leaving some effective, well-deserving programs unfunded.

I do urge each of you to come out to support the much-deserving groups in Middletown that are working hard to ensure that every city child has access to quality arts programming. And, though it wasn't my idea, I encourage you to show your unity and wear red.

Thank You,
Izzi Greenberg
Executive Director
North End Action Team (NEAT)

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