Register Now for Arts Advocacy Day!

2/21/07

1. Register Now for Arts Advocacy Day!

2. Arts Increase Possible – We Need Your Help NOW

3. Volunteers Needed for Arts Advocacy Day

4. Congresswoman Betty McCollum to Receive Congressional Arts Award

5. Join us in Washington D.C. for National Arts Advocacy Day

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1. Register Now for Arts Advocacy Day!

The registration deadline for Arts Advocacy Day is rapidly approaching. If you are coming, please register ASAP! We need to know how many people are coming so we have enough materials on hand and can schedule your meetings for you. Our goal this year is to restore arts funding. Be part of the team!

Register online and find out more at www.mtn.org/mca. Advocacy Day is March 8th. People who come to Advocacy Day will receive their own copy of the new Artists Count economic impact study of Minnesota’s artists (see below).

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts invites you to join your fellow arts advocates at the MN History Center and State Capitol to talk about the arts, make new friends, and educate our legislators about the importance of the arts to Minnesota. At Arts Advocacy Day, YOU along with individual artists, rural theaters, suburban choirs, big institutions, museums, art centers, painters, tenors, students, dancers, musicians, arts administrators, arts lovers will join together to talk about the impact of the arts on the economy and communities of our state.

Be the first to hear the results of Artists Count a comprehensive statewide and regional economic impact study of individual artists in Minnesota. The economic impact of the artists of our state were studied this year through a groundbreaking study conducted by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA), Springboard for the Arts and the Minnesota Crafts Council. For the first time ever, six regional studies as well as a statewide study measuring the economic impact of individual artists, as well as a look at artists\\’ access to health care and retirement plans, has been produced. The results of these seven studies will be released for the first time at the morning rally at Arts Advocacy Day. As an attendee, you will receive the very first public reports of the economic impact of artists in Minnesota as well as in your own region. We are more and more excited about the results of these studies and believe that they will be very useful both for statewide and for local arts advocay. No matter where you live in Minnesota, you will also have a regional report that you can use to talk about the economic impact of artists in your own area.

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2. Arts Increase Possible – We Need Your Help NOW

There are several bills that could increase arts funding in Minnesota. We need your help to make it happen! Please go to MCA’s website and use the Desktop Lobbyist to send a note to your legislators asking them to support arts funding. Below is a brief update on the legislation that could increase funding for the arts:

ARTS APPROPRIATION:
Another hearing was held last week in the Senate Finance – Economic Development Budget Division. Testifiers on behalf of the arts included Tom Proehl, Interim Director of the Minnesota State Arts Board, Pam Weaver, Chair of the Minnesota State Arts Board (and MCA Executive Director in the early 1990s), Carolyn Bye, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Steve Anderson from the Paramount Theater in Austin. It went extremely well. There is a House hearing scheduled for next week. Legislators need to hear from you that they should increase support for the arts!

BACKGROUND:
Governor Pawlenty has proposed adding an additional $500,000 per year, or $1 million total, to the appropriation for the arts. The money would be added to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils budgets for grants and administration. (Currently the state appropriates approximately $8.5 million to the arts annually). The context for this increase, while it is welcome, is that the Governor proposed cutting 40% of the appropriation in 2002, resulting in a cut of 32% that year. Although this is an excellent first step, our number one priority this year is that the appropriation be fully restored. This would take approximately $5.5 million per year if we included a small increase for inflation. The good news is that the Governor’s recommendation will strengthen our message of restoration. However, it’s not nearly enough and we are competing with a lot of other issues for limited funds so we need to make our voices heard and for sure we need to have a big turnout at Advocacy Day.

OTHER LEGISLATION:
MCA’s long term goal is a constitutional amendment dedicating a small portion of sales tax revenue to Minnesota’s Heritage. This bill has the potential to double or triple state funding for the arts. The funding, just like the regular appropriation, would benefit arts organizations and artists in every Minnesota county via grants from the Regional Arts Councils and Minnesota State Arts Board.

There are many versions of the bill at this point. Some or all of them include the arts, parks and trails, clean water, game and fish habitat, and other items. Some versions of the bill would bring the arts around $23 million per year by FY09. Some versions of the bill would ask the voters to approve a small additional sales tax (3/8th of 1%, or about 37 cents for each $100 spent). Some versions would just designate these funds from “current revenues.” (It is this difference between the House and Senate bills that has been the most controversial, and which in the end kept the bill from passing last year).

Choosing among many versions of the bill with many different authors, the Senate Environment Committee this week passed Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller’s (DFL, Mpls.) Senate File #6, the constitutional amendment bill that we preferred because it appropriates the most money to the arts. The next step for the Senate bill is a visit to Sen. Ann Rest’s State and Local Government Operations and Oversight Committee. After that, it will go to Sen. Cohen’s Finance Committee where the real work on the bill will begin. A great first step! Many versions of this bill have introduced in the House and Senate, some of which include the arts and some of which don’t. There will be many more hearings in many more committees before the legislature decides what to do with these bills. Although it is early in the legislative session, establishing early on the will of the Senate to include the arts in this bill is a very important statement.

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3. Volunteers Needed for Arts Advocacy Day

Sign up to help make the day a success! Below are a list of volunteer opportunities associated with Arts Advocacy Day. Can you help? To sign up, please contact Katie Sabaka at mca@mtn.org or call 651-251-0868. Please indicate what times you will be available:

RSVP Packet Mailing
O Thursday, March 1, 2007, anytime from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
O Friday, March 2, 2007, anytime from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.

In-Office Preparation
O Saturday, March 3, 2007, anytime from 12: 00- 7:00 pm.
O Monday, March 5, 2007, anytime from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
O Tuesday, March 6, 2007, anytime from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.
O Wednesday, March 7, 2007, anytime from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Advocacy Day – Thursday, March 8, 2007
(Please note: if you are a Team Leader, some of these opportunities will be unavailable to you).
O Help Arts Advocates sign-in at the Registration Table. (a.m.)
O Sell t-shirts and memberships at the History Center. (a.m.)
O Act as an usher at the History Center. (a.m.)
O Take photos throughout the day for MCA use. (a.m. and p.m.)

If there are other ways you\\’d like to help or if you have suggestions for additional volunteer positions please contact Katie at the number above. THANK YOU!

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4. Congresswoman Betty McCollum to Receive Congressional Arts Award

Americans for the Arts is presenting Rep. Betty McCollum (St. Paul) with the 2007 National Award for Congressional Leadership!

Each year, Americans for the Arts, in partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, recognizes elected officials and legendary artists who have exhibited outstanding leadership in the advancement of the arts at the national, state, and local levels. The recipient of the 2007 National Award for Congressional Arts Leadership is Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN).

Congresswoman McCollum has demonstrated a strong commitment to the arts throughout her congressional career. In both the 108th and 109th Congresses, Congresswoman McCollum took every action tracked by Americans for the Arts in support for the arts, including voting to increase funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), co-sponsoring legislation allowing artists to claim a fair-market value tax deduction when donating their work to charity, supporting the reauthorization of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and asking for more funding for arts education. She is also one of three House members appointed to serve on the National Council on the Arts, which advises the chairman of the NEA. The award will be presented to Congresswoman McCollum during the National Arts Advocacy Day Congressional Arts Breakfast on March 13. For more information, please contact Director of Local Arts Policy Lina Garcia at lgarcia@artsusa.org.

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5. Join us in Washington D.C. for National Arts Advocacy Day

Entering its 20th consecutive year, National Arts Advocacy Day, organized by Americans for the Arts, is the only national event designed to bring together a broad cross section of America\\’s national cultural and civic organizations. These groups will join hundreds of grassroots advocates from across the country to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. This year Arts Advocacy Day kicks off on Monday, March 12, with a day of legislative training sessions and guest speakers. We\\’ll teach you everything you need to know about the current arts issues circulating on Capitol Hill and how to lobby Congress for increased public funding for the arts. Throughout the day you\\’ll have the chance to meet with other attendees from your state in order to make the most of your Congressional visits. (The Americans for the Arts State Arts Advocacy Captain from Minnesota is Sheila Smith, and she will be setting up meetings with Members of Congress prior to your visits on March 13).

For more information and to sign up go to: http://www.artsusa.org/events/2007/aad/default.asp

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http://www.mtn.org/mca

Your frequently updated, one-stop site for:

• information about Minnesota Citizens for the Arts,
• how you can get involved,
• an Action Center called the DESKTOP LOBBYIST where you can write a letter to your legislator
• or even find out who your legislators are,
• facts about the arts in Minnesota,
• the latest on legislative and congressional action on arts issues
• And more!

Join Our Arts Advocacy Family

MCA is funded entirely by the dues of its members. Do you appreciate receiving up to the minute news on the fate of the arts in the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress? We could not provide Arts Alerts if it weren’t for the wonderful and committed arts advocates who show their commitment by joining MCA. You can join by printing out the membership form on our website at http://www.mtn.org/mca. Individual dues are just $30, and a household membership is just $40. Thank you!

MCA values your privacy, and will not sell or distribute your personal information to anyone.

MCA is a non-partisan statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community and lobbies the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress on issues pertaining to the nonprofit arts. If you are interested in learning more about how to advocate for the arts, or how to activate people in your arts organization or community to lobby for the arts, please call us at 651-251-0868 or e-mail mca@mtn.org.

State arts funding supports access to the arts for all Minnesotans. The state-funded Minnesota State Arts Board and eleven Regional Arts Councils provide grants and services in every Minnesota county for artists, arts organizations, arts projects and school artist residencies. For more information on regional or state grants, go to http://www.arts.state.mn.us/racs/index.htm