During its annual lawmaking session, the Florida Legislature increased funding for the arts by more than three hundred percent — an increase prompting cultural institutions to seek a bigger slice of the budget pie. One of these institutions is the Tampa Bay-based Florida Orchestra, which recently hired leading governmental affairs firm Corcoran & Johnston.
Lawmakers approved $43.3 million for the arts in the current budget, including $6.9 million for facilities and $7.1 million for grants. The 384 percent increase in spending signaled recognition of a growing industry. The Florida Cultural Alliance estimates the arts generate more than $3.1 billion in economic activity annually in the state.
So many community-based and professional organizations compete for the money the state earmarks in support of music, dance and other expressions of art. And in the halls of the state capitol, a personal relationship with lawmakers may provide an edge when spending decisions are made.
“The Florida Orchestra helps bring Tampa Bay and our state together as a single community and we are honored to represent them,” said Matt Blair of Corcoran & Johnston. “Tampa Bay’s appreciation for the arts and music continues to grow and the Florida Orchestra is meeting that growing demand with new programming highlighting arrangements spanning the generations and the musical genre.”
The Florida Orchestra schedules more than 100 concerts a year in the Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater region. More than 60 percent of its budget depends on contributions with ticket sales accounting for about one-third of the Orchestra’s income.
The Florida Orchestra schedule includes masterworks, pops and coffee concerts as well as free and youth concerts. Its origin dates to the 1940s.
Among Corcoran & Johnston’s 56 clients are the City of Miami, the Fontainebleau Florida Hotel, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Meanwhile, another Tampa Bay cultural institution recently lobbied-up. Lowry Park Zoo hired Holland & Knight to represent it in Tallahassee, according to a state database.
Photo credit: Thomas Bruce.