Art Patron Pérez Blasts Florida Governor Over Funding Cuts

Source Credit:  Content and images from Ocula Magazine.  Read the original article - https://ocula.com/magazine/art-news/art-patron-perez-blasts-florida-governor/

Governor Ron Desantis vetoed $32 million of art and culture grants last month, a move Jorge M. Pérez said sent a ‘horrible message’.

Art Patron Pérez Blasts Florida Governor Over Funding Cuts

Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2014. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Photo: Daniel Azoulay Photography.

Miami billionaire and real estate developer Jorge M. Pérez, who runs the Related Group in Florida, expressed concern after Florida Governor Ron Desantis vetoed U.S. $32 million of art and culture grants last month, impacting 600 organisations across the sunshine state.

‘This is just a horrible message to send’ to Floridians, Perez told Bloomberg.

For Pérez, art museums are essential to any great city. Over the years, the businessman has contributed around $1.7 billion to Miami’s art scene, including $50 million to Pérez Museum of Art (PAMM), formerly Miami Art Museum, which will also inherit his art collection.

In a press conference, Desantis explained his decision by pointing to two festivals, Orlando and Tampa Fringe, which he says have ‘sexual’ content. In the list of 630 grantees, both are ranked toward the bottom. Neither would have touched the limited funds.

The cuts are part of $1 billion of line items Desantis vetoed from the state budget for the next year. Local infrastructure projects and a $80 million subsidy for university staff to access state health insurance and among the mix. Florida’s budget stands at $116.5 billion after the cuts.

In response, DeSantis’s senior analyst Christina Pushaw noted the billionaire’s net worth on X, stating Mr. Pérez ‘has every right to open his wallet and provide that $32 million himself.’

Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2014. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Photo: Juan E. Cabrera.

Pérez Art Museum Miami, 2014. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron. Photo: Juan E. Cabrera.

Compared to donations like Pérez’s, Florida’s art museums—Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, Tampa Museum of Art, and Norton Museum of Art, among others—stand to lose $150,000 at most from the governor’s decision to prioritise other sectors.

In Desantis’s bid against an industry supported by over 88% of state residents, employing some 91,000 people, and generating $5.8 billion of economic activity as of 2022, cities themselves stand to lose out.

Miami’s recent effort to rebrand itself as a cultural destination saw a surge of municipal funding for art organisations. Similar support enabled PAMM’s inception in 1972, prompted by Miami’s Decade of Progress bond that dedicated $75 million to cultural initiatives.

Desantis’s policies for Florida often make headlines for waging war on ‘woke‘ culture with measures that range from abolishing talk of gender and race in primary schools to antagonising corporations like Disney over their affiliation with gay rights.

Along with the arts cuts, he signed more than 180 bills that came into play on 1 July. Climate change is removed from the state legislature, communist history enters school curriculums, and the state is now exempt from disclosing its concentrators’ financials.

Once an opponent to Donald Trump, Desantis’s run in the Republican primaries was cut short in January when he stepped away to endorse Trump.

Those close to the governor tell CNN he is ‘actively considering how best to maintain his national profile and influence’ leading to the elections in 2028. —[O]

Source Credit:  Content and images from Ocula Magazine.  Read the original article - https://ocula.com/magazine/art-news/art-patron-perez-blasts-florida-governor/