*Carlos has been celebrated and honored by the Florida Cultural Alliance and the Florida Alliance for Arts Education for his work to increase arts and culture funding in the State of Florida!
Carlos delivers on arts and culture funding
In 2018, hundreds of non-profit organizations were devastated when the legislature slashed the arts and culture grant program by 90% from $25 million in 2017 down to $2.7 million. As a lifelong supporter of the arts, Carlos jumped into action with Rep. Anna V. Eskamani to raise public awareness on the importance of government investment in the arts and embarked on a sustained statewide effort to boost funding. On 1/15/19, Carlos and Anna hosted a public town hall to address the legislature's devastating cuts and create a unified call to action to reverse the trend. The result: The 2019-2020 state budget saw an 800% increase to 480 arts and culture groups across Florida!
During the 2019 legislative session, Carlos consistently met with community stakeholders, legislators and budget leaders to make funding for the arts a priority. His work paid off and a diverse number of non-profit organizations directly benefited from his advocacy.
"After embracing arts and cultural funding as their personal priority issues this winter, Democratic state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Anna Eskamani are cheering the proposed 2020 state budget for including $21 million for competitive arts and cultural grants programs, eight times as much as the current spending plan." -Florida Politics, 5/2/19
During the 2020 legislative session, Carlos got back to work to protect funding from the arts he helped secure in the previous budget year. The result was the arts and culture grants were essentially held harmless compared to the previous year's funding. While the ultimate goal is to fully fund the grant program, advocates were pleased to see funding levels stayed at about the same level as 2019.