Budget cut could crush youth arts program in Fort Worth




Posted on September 11, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 12 at 1:39 AM

FORT WORTH — The mission of Kids Who Care, a musical theater program in Fort Worth, is to inspire the next generation of writers, singers and dancers.

For Mya Bryant — who received a scholarship to attend the program — Kids Who Care has given her the confidence to keep chasing her professional dancing dreams.

"Before, it was just like, 'I can dream... I don't really think it's going to happen,'" Mya said. "And just coming here, they're telling me, 'You can do it!' That's just amazing."

Kids Who Care is one of 43 organizations that receive grant money from the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. The organization is facing a 25 percent cut under the city's budget proposal — a loss of nearly $300,000.

The center will still get free rent and all the revenue from its shows, but supporters say every penny counts — and grants are on the line.

"If we cut back funding to support that in terms of personnel and space and to make those things work, then we're not reaching as far as we can," said Kids Who Care founder and executive director Deborah Jung.

Dozens of people are signing petitions and speaking at City Council meetings hoping city leaders review the proposed cuts. A vote on the issue is expected next week.

Mya Bryant and her friends hope the city takes into consideration their love for the arts.

"I just don't know what they are doing," she said. "When they see everyone perform, and they say how beautiful we are... and then they go and now they say they're cutting the budget... and it kind of makes me feel sad."

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com