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Continued funding for COCA uncertain ahead of Leon County Commission meeting

Posted: 6:46 PM, Feb 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-24 18:46:50-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — A Tallahassee non-profit that's all about the arts could soon be no more.

Leon County Commissioners are looking to the future which could include a big cut to the Council on Culture and Art.

Tuesday night, Leon County Commissioner's will discuss if they want to continue to fund the Tallahassee Council on Culture and Arts.

Leon County is looking into incorporating arts into the tourism budget. But the people at COCA say there's an advantage to separating the local arts and tourism.

From dance performances to art shows, the Tallahassee Council on Culture and Art plays a part in bringing it to the community.

"The future of the city and county in arts, culture, history and heritage looks really bright," said Kathleen Spehar.

But while the arts community grows, COCA's may not be around to see the future.

"What we're looking at is, is the money we're spending being used efficiently," said Bryan Desloge, the Leon County Commission chair.

Leon County Commissioners currently provide about 82 percent of COCA's funding. But Tuesday night, they'll take a look at adding an arts and culture part to tourism, meaning no more funding for COCA.

"At the end of the day, I certainly don't want to change any funding to the arts. What I'd like to be able to make sure is that they get as much money as possible," said Desloge. "If we do it efficiently, they'll get even more money."

The people at COCA and many organizations that work with COCA say that's not a good idea for the community.

"That could really have a detrimental impact on the current and future of the arts, culture, history community," said Spehar. "For COCA itself, that would our existence and need would be moved away from our jurisdiction."

Commissioners will decide to either move their arts funding to the tourism department or continue another 5 year contract with COCA at Tuesday's commission meeting.