Arts Advocacy Day

Virtual Arts Advocacy Day was 3/19/20

Changed to VIRTUAL Arts Advocacy Day!

Why Virtual Arts Advocacy Day?

MCA is committed to the safety and wellness of our arts community. Although the Minnesota Department of Health has not as of this moment recommended canceling events, out of an abundance of caution and after many thoughtful conversations, MCA cancelled our day on the hill and instead held a VIRTUAL Arts Advocacy Day.

We are all practicing social distancing (something that comes naturally to most Minnesotans) but that doesn’t mean we can’t advocate for the arts. In the 2019 legislative session, the legislature passed an increase in state arts funding. (Yay!) We’re going to use Virtual Arts Advocacy Day to thank legislators for supporting arts funding. Your legislators need to know that their constituents support the arts. Please take five minutes here to thank them for continued arts funding, and let them know that when you invest in the arts, the Arts Give Back.

We want to thank all of the committed volunteers who helped us to organize Arts Advocacy Day, volunteered as Team Leaders, and signed up to come to Saint Paul (30% of whom were first-time advocates). You can all still make a difference by making sure your legislators know the importance of the arts to you and your community.

Watch this space in the coming weeks as we announce and thank legislative Arts All-Star Award winners for particularly strong support of the arts community.

Be well, and be kind to each other.

Sheila Smith
Executive Director
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

What is Arts Advocacy Day?

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts works to increase arts funding by bringing arts advocates to the State Capitol to talk to their legislators about the importance of the arts to our lives and our economy. Every year about 500 arts advocates join together for a rally at the Minnesota History Center Auditorium in the morning, split up into teams with experienced leaders and walk together to legislator offices to educate them about the arts in their communities and ask them to support arts funding.

Who Goes to Arts Advocacy Day?

Attendees include painters, tenors, dancers, cellists, French horn players and other artists of all kinds, arts administrators and representatives from every arts organization statewide from the big organizations to the smallest all volunteer choir on the northern border, joining together to show the strength of Minnesota’s arts community. Where else could you go to be with 500 people who agree with you?


Why Should I Go?

Through this big day, we show the strength of Minnesota’s statewide arts community. Previous Arts Advocacy Days have resulted in significant increases in state arts funding (that goes out in grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils). The Legacy Amendment, which tripled arts funding in 2008, was passed on Arts Advocacy Day! Past participants have repeatedly shared their favorite parts of the day:

  1. They feel empowered by gathering together with like-minded people.
  2. They say that Arts Advocacy Day is the best arts networking event of the year, as it’s the only time that arts lovers of all kinds come together in one place.

What are the Important Issues This Year?

In 2019 the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils system awarded over 2,000 grants, which reached all 87 counties, helping to make the arts accessible to all Minnesotans. The awarded grants come from two sources in the “General Fund” and “Arts Legacy Fund” that will be discussed in the 2021 session budget. This year we worked to support those two funds and protect them from being cut or diverted.

Legislators need to hear about the importance of the arts to their districts and the impact the MSAB and RAC grants are having in their hometowns.

Minnesotans overwhelmingly approved the Legacy Amendment in 2008, passing it by 56%, which created four new dedicated funds for land, water, parks and arts. In the last several years arts advocates and supportive legislators had to fight off legislative suggestions that the Legacy Arts & Culture Fund be diverted away from the arts. With this uncertain political climate and increased polarization, we need to show a unified front to ensure that arts funding continues to be protected.

On March 19, 2020 Minnesota Citizens for the Arts helped to deliver over 1,000 letters for “Virtual Arts Advocacy Day” to protect those funds. At times over 1000 arts advocates filled the capitol!

What is the Typical Arts Advocacy Day Like?

Watch a video from a previous Arts Advocacy Day.

Watch the video from the Lakes Regional Arts Council about their experiences at Arts Advocacy Day.

How do I get there?

Directions for Arts Advocacy Day:

Driving to the Minnesota Historical Society:
(345 Kellogg Blvd W, St Paul MN 55102) Google Maps Directions to MHS

Driving directly to the Minnesota State Capitol:
75 Rev Dr Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard., Saint Paul, MN 55155 Google Maps Directions to State Capitol

Mass Transit Options:

Take the Green Line to the Capitol/Rice Street Station. Walk .2 miles to University Ave & Marion Street and take the 16 Eastbound to Downtown Saint Paul and get off at the John Ireland Blvd & Kellogg Blvd stop for the Minnesota Historical Society.
For a more personalized set of Mass Transit options click the link.

Parking Options:

Minnesota History Center: Google Maps Directions to MHS
Impark Parking Ramp (145 N Smith Ave St Paul MN 55102) Google Maps Directions to Impark

Disability Access and Parking Information:
Due to ever changing accessibility updates please go to: Minnesota State Capitol Accessibility Page

Typical Arts Advocacy Day Schedule:


7:30 AM: Doors Open at the Minnesota History Center
8:00-9:00 AM: Registration & Coffee (For those not attending Reveal or Class.)
8:00 AM: Big Reveal of New Creative Minnesota Local Studies
8:30 AM: Advocacy Class for New Attendees
9:00 AM: Rally & Join your Team
10:00 AM: Walk or Take MCA Shuttle to Capitol
10:15 AM – 2:00 PM: Legislator Appointments (MCA Homebase will be in the Transportation Building.)