June 19, 2024 – Arts Funding Cut from State Budget: Help Support the Reilly

Email from Executive Director, Natalie McComb

Dear Friends:

As a patron of the arts, we need your help. On Wednesday, June 12, Governor DeSantis signed the 2024-2025 State of Florida budget into law. His line-item vetoes included the complete elimination of arts and culture grant funding totaling over $26 million. These cuts are immediate and will impact more than 600 organizations across the state.

The Ocala Symphony Orchestra and its home, the Reilly Arts Center are among those directly impacted by this unprecedented decision. Locally, this also impacts our friends at the Ocala Civic Theater, the Appleton Museum of Art, operated by the College of Central Florida, Marion Cultural Alliance and Arts in Health Ocala Metro. 

While this state run, competitive grant program has seen significant 40-60% funding cuts in recent years, a complete veto of a long-standing program was not a decision any of us expected. Our organization now faces the immediate loss of our largest grant, $70,000 just weeks away from our new fiscal year. 

As with most performing arts organizations, ticket sales provide only a fraction of the funding required for operations. The variety of local, accessible programming we offer is not possible without additional philanthropic and grant support. Already, we are indebted to the generosity of our donors, corporate sponsors, and loyal patrons who have allowed the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and our venues to serve the community for nearly 50 years. To ask more of our community at this time is a challenge we didn’t anticipate facing. Please consider supporting the organization in one or more of these ways:


Become a member of the Reilly Arts Center, renew your membership, or make a gift today. If you have already generously donated to us this year, thank you! Your collective support will greatly assist us in addressing this challenge to our daily operations. To explore alternative giving vehicles, contact me (mailto:natalie@reillyartscenter.com)  directly.


Purchase a ticket to an upcoming concert, invite friends to join you, or learn more about becoming an Ocala Symphony season subscriber. Spread the word about our upcoming concerts and programs by following us on Facebook, and encouraging others to join our email list. All these can support the future programming we already have lined up for our venues.


Spread the word about the impact these funding cuts will have on organizations you care about.  Click here to read the latest articles from around the state about the governor’s budget and the impact this line-item veto will have on arts and culture organizations. 

Stepping into this new role has been a privilege, and it has been a joy meeting many of you these last few months. I am inspired by the loyalty of the patrons, the dedication of our volunteers, and the ongoing support of our donors. We will face this latest challenge together, because the arts contribute in so many ways to the vitality of this community. 

Thank you for your support.

Natalie McComb, CFRE

Executive Director

Ocala Symphony Orchestra & the Reilly Arts Center


Here is what others across the state are saying:

New York Times: Arts Grants Vetoed in Florida

Herald Tribune: Desantis Vetoes Florida Arts Funding For The First Time In History 

Desantis Cuts 32 Million in Arts Grants 

Tallahassee Arts Community Stunned 

The Palm Beach Post: Desantis Vetoes Arts and Museum Money