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Arts and Culture Groups Ask Lawmakers to Invest Part of “One-Time” Budget Surplus to Support Jobs Across

the State and Help a Key Part of Minnesota’s Economy


“C.R.E.A.T.E.” Jobs Bill would allocate $190 million from Minnesota’s budget surplus

to State Arts Board to be allocated to approximately 1,500 live entertainment venues and arts, cultural, historical, and humanities organizations across Minnesota.



While much of Minnesota’s economy has recovered from recent challenges, the state’s arts and culture sector continues to struggle.  That is why arts and culture advocates are urging lawmakers to approve an effort that would use part of the state’s budget surplus to fund grants that will help approximately 1,500 live entertainment venues and arts, cultural, historical, and humanities organizations across Minnesota.  Supporters of investing in arts and culture organizations held a rally today at the State Capital to support the measure.


According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the creative economy in Minnesota generates an estimated $12.2 billion in annual economic activity with 40% of their revenue for these groups coming from ticket sales.  Minnesota’s arts and culture sector directly supports 108,000 jobs that result in $6.7 billion in compensation to its workforce, falling behind only retail and construction for economic impact. For every $1 spent on a ticket, an estimated $12 is generated in additional economic activity. 


The CREATE Jobs legislation, HF 2844 / SF 2867, would direct $190 million to the State Arts Board from the one-time state surplus for grants.  CREATE stand for “Cultural Recovery of the Entertainment Arts & Theater Economy.” The agency would then manage a grant process for arts and cultural organizations.  The funds would not only provide immediate help to strengthen these groups to support thousands of jobs but would also create a long-term benefit by helping them continue to energize their communities at a key time for Minnesota. 



“The arts and culture organizations are a key part of Minnesota’s economy and support communities across our state,” said Sarah Fossen, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA). “The arts community and businesses across Minnesota are partners focused on creating jobs and making sure our communities are active and vibrant.  When hiring doctors, tech employees, teachers, or upper management, the business community needs a strong arts, culture, and entertainment sector to create a quality of life to support the growth of businesses across the state.”


“There is no question how important music venues, festivals, art events, and other cultural activities are in terms of the direct and positive impact to our economy across Minnesota,” said Dayna Frank, President, and CEO of First Avenue Productions.  “But while customers in most cases have returned to other activities, ticket sales for many events are not the same, and the costs to produce programming continue to increase. Independent venues and promoters are cultural and economic cornerstones in their communities, the CREATE grants will immediately help so many of these organizations flourish.”


“For Winona, knowing there is a strong creative community is important at a number of different levels,” said Christie Ransom, President, and CEO of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce.  “We see and feel the energy when there are festivals happening or shows at theaters, and our hotels, bars, restaurants, and retail stores are busy.  An active and well-funded arts scene helps our businesses be better able to recruit and keep employees because it makes this an even better place to live.  There are so many reasons we support our arts economy, and we know this is a good investment today and into the future for Minnesota.”


About the C.R.E.A.T.E. Jobs Bill

If approved, HF 2844 / SF 2867, would money from the general fund to the Minnesota Arts Board.  Eligible organizations would apply for grants that would be awarded by the Arts Board based on the applicant’s total revenue reported to the IRS for 2019. If there was no revenue reported to the IRS in 2019, the organization's second-year operating revenue would be used to determine the amount.  Funding will be awarded to organizations who have previously been awarded MN State Arts Board, Shuttered Venue, Humanities Center, and Historical Society grants.


“It makes sense to use some of Minnesota’s one-time surplus to invest in these organizations to make sure they can continue to employ so many people who need jobs,” Fossen said.  “CREATE Jobs funding will make sure arts and culture organizations are able to continue to host events, concerts, and other activities that improve our quality of life and make our communities stronger.  It’s needed support that delivers a meaningful impact.”


About MCA

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA) is a statewide arts advocacy organization that organizes the arts community to lobby the Minnesota State Legislature and Congress. Our mission is to ensure opportunity for all people to have access to and involvement in the arts. To learn more, please visit


About the Minnesota Independent Venue Alliance

The Minnesota Independent Venue Alliance (MNIVA) is an organization of independent performing arts venues and promoters across Minnesota. The mission of MNIVA is to preserve and nurture the ecosystem of independent venues and promoters throughout the State of Minnesota. MNIVA members are critical to their local economies and tax bases as employers, tourism destinations, and revenue generators for neighboring businesses such as restaurants, hotels and retail stores. Visit to learn more.