ARTIST BRIEFING

1/28/03

ARTIST BRIEFING
On funding for Individual Artist Programs and What’s Happening at the Legislature:

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts invites you to a briefing at the Southern Theatre in Minneapolis (directions below) on Friday, Feb. 7, from 3:30-4:30* p.m.

AGENDA:

Welcome and Why We’re Here. – Sheila Smith, Executive Director, MCA

What This Means to Individual Artists. – Chris Osgood, Director of Artists Services, Springboard for the Arts (and current Minnesota State Arts Board Member)

Why is this Happening at the Legislature Now? – Larry Redmond, MCA’s Lobbyist

Effects of Cuts on Grants at the Minnesota State Arts Board. – Amy Frimpong, MSAB Artist Assistance Program Officer

What You Can Do About It! – Will Lager, MCA Field Worker, and Sheila Smith

(*We have to be out of the Southern between 4:30 and 5:00 because they have a show that night.)

DIRECTIONS: The Southern Theater is located at 1420 Washington Ave. S., in the Seven Corners area of Minneapolis, one block south of 35W.

From the East: Heading west on highway 94, take the Cedar exit, turn right, follow Cedar about one mile to the cross street 15th Avenue and turn right to park in the public ramp.
From the West: Heading east on 94, take the Riverside exit, turn left back across the freeway, turn left onto Riverside, follow to the intersection of Riverside and Cedar, turn right, follow Cedar to 15th Avenue (several blocks), turn right and park in the public ramp.
From the South: Traveling north on 35W, take the exit for U of M/3rd Street/Highway 122. Road splits into 3 lanes. Stay in the lane marked “West Bank.” At the stoplight, turn right. The Southern is one the left in that block.
From the North: Traveling south on 35W, take the Washington Ave. exit. Turn left. Cross the freeway overpass. The Southern is on the left in the first block.
PARKING: A public ramp is located just one half block east of Washington on 15th Avenue, next door to the Holiday Inn, and right around the corner from the Southern.

RECAP: WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE LEGISLATURE NOW?

Gov. Tim Pawlenty has proposed a budget bill to solve the state’s short-term budget deficit problem. Part of the proposal cut $344,000 in grant funds from the Minnesota State Arts Board’s (MSAB) budget that would have gone to the Individual Artist and Folk Arts grants in the next few months. There is also a small cut to the MSAB’s operations budget. In the House, a version of the bill with all of the cuts was passed quickly by two Committees, as expected, without changes. A Senate Committee, however, voted to restore most of the grant money, with the exception of $64,000 in Folk Arts grants. It is expected that a conference committee will be appointed today or tomorrow to work out the differences between the two (House and Senate) bills.

Governor Pawlenty said today that if the House and Senate can’t agree on a short-term budget solution by the first week of February, he will use his authority to “un-allot” funds to make the budget balance. Therefore, there is intense pressure is on legislators to get this bill done quickly.

AFFECT ON INDIVIDUAL ARTIST GRANTS AT THE MN STATE ARTS BOARD:

As a part of a deficit reduction proposal, the administration has proposed cutting $344,000 in Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) grant funds that have not yet been awarded for this year. These grant funds would have been awarded in the individual artist and folk arts grants programs. Regional Arts Council funding was unaffected, as were all of the other MSAB program grants, because the grants have already been paid for this fiscal year.(Obviously, the state can’t cut funds that have already gone out the door). The Pawlenty administration is proposing, and so far it appears the House is going along with, taking money that is still left unspent for the fiscal year, and because the affected grants are usually made in the spring, they have not yet been spent. We are very disappointed in this proposal, because it unfairly targets one segment of the community for cuts simply because their grants are usually made at the end of the year.

THE BIGGER PICTURE:

The worst thing we have to report is that this first round of cuts will not be our biggest problem this session. While these proposed cuts are significant, we are afraid that greater cuts are undoubtedly coming as part of the need to resolve the state’s huge $4.5+ billion budget deficit. The next round of budget cutting will begin when this short-term FY03 budget deficit has been solved. This will begin on Feb. 18 when the Governor’s FY04-05 budget proposal will be delivered to the legislature. Unfortunately, not just individual artist and folk arts programs, but all other arts programs as well, will be at risk in the next round of budget cutting. We will continue to monitor the situation and speak to legislators about these important programs in the coming days and weeks, and will do our best to keep you informed.

WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?

These grantees are the first casualties of the retrenching of state government, and are examples of what will happen to the rest of the arts community soon if people don’t get involved, and communicate to their legislators how important the arts are to Minnesota.

JOIN US ON ARTS ADVOCACY DAY, FEBRUARY 27, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Click here for information and sign up forms.
If you can’t come to advocacy day, call or write to your new legislators asking them to protect arts funding! You can get phone numbers and addresses here.
PLEASE PASS THIS EMAIL ALONG TO ANYONE YOU THINK MIGHT BE INTERESTED.