Save Tucson’s Art and Food Culture: Take Action Against Proposed Budget Cuts!


June 17, 2024
By Shane Reiser
By Shane Reiser

Update 6/18/24: The Arizona State Legislature passed the FY2025 budget, including a one-time appropriation of $2 million for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, marking a 60% reduction from FY2024. Read Cathalena Burch’s story on The Arizona Daily Star for more.

The arts scene in Tucson is under threat, and our vibrant food culture is at risk, too.

Just like painting and traditional art forms, the culinary arts involve creativity and skill in the preparation, cooking, and presentation of food. Our talented chefs in Tucson are true artists, using techniques, flavor profiling, and artistic presentation to craft meals that are both visually stunning and delicious, showcasing food as an expressive and cultural art form.

Art, in all its forms, is deeply embedded in what defines many cities across Arizona—including Tucson. Yet, the latest Arizona state budget has proposed $0 (zero) funding for the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

If this budget passes as-is, it will have an immediate and devastating impact on Tucson’s economy and culture.

Beloved organizations like the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) will be directly affected. SAACA brings numerous cherished events to our community each year, supporting and celebrating our local restaurants and chefs with festivals like the Savor Food and Wine Festival, the Devour Culinary Classic, the World Margarita Championship, and the Salsa, Tequila, and Taco Challenge.

Beyond foodie events, SAACA runs crucial programs like youth education programs, Arts in Healthcare, Artist Support, several placemaking projects, and so much more.

But SAACA is just one example of an organization that will be impacted.

“It will not just affect SAACA, but the hundreds and thousands of artists and powerful arts organizations that rely on this funding to continue operations and pay employees,” the team at SAACA shared.

The good news? You can help!

Visit azcitizensforthearts.org to send a letter to Arizona legislators. It only takes a few clicks using their pre-filled letter template, or you can write your own message. If you’re an artist of any kind, we encourage you to share your personal story about how this may affect you or your small business.

Together, we can ensure that Tucson’s rich artistic and culinary heritage continues to thrive.

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