The following is an open letter sent to Trenton New Jersey Mayor Tony Mack regarding the scheduled closings of several art Museums sent on Wed. Oct 6.
Honorable Mayor Mack and City Council Members,
We ask you to protect the institutions and art museums which define the character of Trenton. Your 2011 Budget cuts funding to these precious community resources, forcing vibrant community based profit centers to close.
Art museums provide a strong sense of pride to citizens, and a unique destination for travelers. Trenton Museum has a sizable visiting public from Princeton, New York City and Philadelphia. Visitors to the museum spend the day eating in local restaurants, buying local merchandise and some later choose to call Trenton home. 25,000 people a year visit this museum. Locals donated $110,000 and volunteered $250,000 worth of time to support it last year alone. Hon. Mayor Mack, your 2011 Budget closes this and other invaluable institutions.
These are historically demanding fiscal times and we understand that unsavory decisions must be made. Cutting funding for historical bedrocks in the community is a dubious way to mark these times and it will invariably further reduce the value of properties surrounding the museums. By eliminating cultural bedrocks like Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion, and severing Arts in Trenton you are in fact destroying community artifacts and vibrant cultural epicenters which have been nurtured through previous depressions. Some of these locations predate the American Revolution.
We must work together to make sure Trenton does not become a town that once was a unique cultural center. We all want to see Trenton as a city that nurtures it's creations and takes pride in it's cultural institutions even during a tough economic environment. By cutting funding and closing precious community resources we will deprive future generations of the unique history these remarkable communities hold. Art-related foundations and institutions are becoming the first casualties in restructuring of budgets during economic downturns. Museums and historical societies across the Nation are closing at an alarming rate. This devaluing of Art Museums and cultural centers is an unfortunate misguided miscalculation. Arts Institutions are incredibly powerful. They give towns and city a sense of longevity, place and perspective. They anchor a town much like a Town Hall, Library, Court House, or Historical Society. Together they house the comprehensive history of our communities and offer locals and visitors inspiration, hope, and an engaging connection to the past and perspective on current events. Our Art Museums help us identify with and love our town and respect our collective history. They are also sources of economic productivity and prosperity. Art Museums provide a benefit which is complex to quantify like any long term investment with multiple secondary income flows.
With so many competing interests for the precious dollar during this tenuous economic position we must take a definitive stand to preserve our cultural institutions which define our towns. If we do not protect these, one by one we will be dismantling our townships, scattering to the wind our history and reshaping a town that braved revolutions and depressions to a town that caved during a recession.
Please Mayor, and Honorable Council members take this opportunity to protect these cultural and historical resources. Include Cultural preservation into the FY11 Budget, and keep the 1719 William Trent House Museum and Trenton City Museum Open to the public. After all the Trenton City Museum draws a nascent .0012% of the City Budget.
CC: Local, Regional, National, Press, Chief Elected Officials, Artists Organizations, Museums
2 MUSEUMS SLATED TO BE CLOSED BY MAYOR MACK
If you support art museums I urge you to call the Mayors Office to voice your support for funding the Trenton City Museum and 1719 William Trent House Museum.
You can leave a message for the mayor at (609) 989-3809.