arts alert: Arts Advocacy Day Sign-Up Deadline is Friday

MCA
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

2233 University Ave. W. #355
St. Paul, MN 55155
651-251-0868 fax 651-917-3561
staff at mncitizensforthearts.org
www.mncitizensforthearts.org
Arts Action Center

February 18, 2009

1. Arts Advocacy Day Sign-up Deadline is This Friday, Feb. 20

2. Letter Writing Campaign Reaches 1200 (and Counting!)

3. Volunteers Needed

4. Sue Gens Appointed New Minnesota State Arts Board Director

5. Arts Community Begins to Eye Stimulus Money

6. Arts Issues Background

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1. Arts Advocacy Day Sign-up Deadline is This Friday, Feb. 20

Join us at the Capitol on Feb. 24 for Arts Advocacy Day. Last year arts advocates got to watch history in the making as both the House and Senate pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on to Minnesota voters. Who knows what amazing things will happen this year? Watch a video about Arts Advocacy Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZPqXDYM5zU

We start at 8:00 a.m. at the Minnesota History Center with a First Timers Orientation, followed at 8:30 by the rally, general orientation and mass photo of attendees. By 9:30 we are sorting ourselves into teams by legislative district, and, led by an experienced Team Leader, march up to the Capitol for individual meetings with legislators. Previous participants have reported that the best things about Arts Advocacy Day is the chance to hang out with 400 artists and arts advocates who agree with them, and to feel like they have had a part in making the world a better place for the arts.

SIGN UP TODAY AT: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=LuTifG9UsbZ0R18HmcJAsA_3d_3d Sign up deadline is Feb. 20. You can also sign up on MCA’s website and get other information about the day at: www.mncitizensforthearts.org.

We were wrong about 2008 being the biggest year for arts advocacy in Minnesota history. This year is even tougher. The good news is that we know what we are doing and can change the outcome. We’ve shown by passage of the Amendment that by working together we can do great things ...join us!

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2. Letter Writing Campaign Reaches 1200 (and Counting!)

The response has been overwhelming!

In under two weeks you have generated over 1200 letters to legislators protesting Gov. Pawlenty’s proposal to cut the arts by 50 percent, and eventual elimination of the State Arts Board after 2011, as part of a package of budget changes intended to balance the state’s budget. The Governor’s budget proposal flies in the face of the clear message sent by voters in the passage of the Amendment: that we want MORE investment in the arts and culture, not less. Be a part of the action:

Help us deliver 2000 letters by Advocacy Day.

1. Send a letter to your legislator today saying you want them to protect the arts. You can do it in 5 minutes with our simple Arts Action Center. We give you talking points and set it up, all you have to do is enter your name and address and the letter will go automatically to the right elected officials.

2. Sign up and attend Arts Advocacy Day on Feb. 24. www.mncitizensforthearts.org. (See more info. below).

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3. Volunteers Needed!

Volunteer to Help with Advocacy Day

If you can help the week before Advocacy Day to stuff folders and prepare other materials in office, please feel free to join us from today to Feb. 23rd in the MCA office from 9-5. We also need day of (February 24th) volunteers to great people as they come in, hand out schedules and usher people into the auditorium. If you are already coming to Advocacy Day this would be a great help and you will still be able to participate in all the days important and exciting events while helping us to make the day a success for all! Please call Shaylie to sign up for a shift at 651-251-0868 or email her at shaylie@mncitizensforthearts.org.

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4. Sue Gens Appointed New Minnesota State Arts Board Director

Congratulations to Sue Gens who has been appointed to be the new Director of the Minnesota State Arts Board. We are very pleased that the MSAB has appointed Sue, who has been serving as Interim Director for over a year already. She has been ably leading the agency through these very turbulent times, keeping the strategic planning process on track as the world changes around us all.

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5. Arts Community Begins to Eye Stimulus Money

The good news is that Congress has recognized the importance of the arts to the economy by including $50M in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts in the stimulus package. The bad news is that it is still unclear how that money will reach the arts community. Here’s what I know:

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

  • 40% of the $50M will be split up and send directly to state arts agencies. The amount that will reach the Minnesota State Arts Board is still unclear. The MSAB will then need to put together a plan for getting it out to the field.
  • 60% of the $50M will go out from the NEA in some undetermined grants process. As the Stimulus Bill was only just signed this week, they will need some time to sort out how they will get funds out to the field, this may take a month or two.

OTHER POTENTIAL AVENUES FOR ARTS TO ACCESS STIMULUS MONEY

The information below was provided by Americans for the Arts. They will be posting information on how the arts can access stimulus money on their website as information becomes available: www.artsusa.org. The ability for any particular arts organization to access these funds sometimes rests with state, county, and local officials who recommend projects to some these programs, such as CDBG. You will need to do your own research.

Items of Interest in Economic Recovery Package

1. $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts: The NEA is positioned to use existing
mechanisms to allocate lifeline funding quickly to state and nonprofit organizations to retain jobs.

2. $1 billion to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) for communities to support
economic development projects: Arts projects and service programs are eligible in most
municipalities, and the boost in funding will provide much-needed relief for cultural services and add
shovel-ready development jobs.

3. $130 million to support grants and loans for “essential” Rural Community Facilities such as
community centers and libraries: Rural areas are often underserved, and funds would help ensure
that cultural facilities in these localities have the resources necessary to continue operating.

4. 10% of certain Transportation funding for the Transportation Enhancement (TE) program:
Federally funded and state administered programs support surface transportation projects through
12 eligible categories including preservation, landscaping and design.

5. Increased funding and incentives for states that adopt Unemployment Insurance
Modernization programs expanding benefits to part-time and low-wage workers: This is a
significant change to the eligibility for part-time workers by increasing access to benefits and those
seeking additional part-time employment.

6. $13 billion for Title I for local school districts, $14 billion for school modernization, $53.6
billion for State Fiscal Stabilization Program, including education uses: As a core academic
subject, local officials can use federal funds to support arts education.

7. $160 million for Center for National & Community Service (CNS): This expands funding for
AmeriCorps State and National grantees and VISTA program.

8. $3.9 billion for Job Training and Employment Services: $3.9 billion for job training for state
formula grants for Adult, Dislocated Worker and Youth programs, including an initiative to help
provide 1.2 million summer jobs for youth.

9. $150 million for Economic Development Administration (EDA) to address distressed urban
industrial cores and rural areas: The EDA leverages $10 in private investments for every $1 in
federal funds and could include projects like the planning and creation of cultural districts.

10. $589 million to the National Park Service for much needed historic preservation efforts: Funds
will help protect museum collections and cultural sites that have gone into disrepair.

11. Extension of healthcare for the unemployed: Extension of COBRA and expanded Medicaid
coverage for those without insurance.

Some contact information for the entities that will determine where these dollars will go:

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR FEDERAL FUNDING (as of 02/2009)

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD Local Office Directory
http://www.hud.gov/localoffices.cfm

CDBG Contacts (click on map)
http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/contacts/

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Rural and Community Development State Offices
http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html
Tel: 1-800-670-6553

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
Federal Transit Authority Regional Contacts
http://www.fta.dot.gov/regional_offices.html

National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse Contact:
National Transportation Enhancements Clearinghouse
2121 Ward Court, NW – 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20037
Tel: 888-388-6832
Fax: 202-466-3742
Email: ntec@enhancements.org
Website: www.enhancements.org

State TE Managers: To submit an application for TE funds or to learn more about the TE program in
your state, contact the TE manager(s) at your state department of transportation (DOT). They are
responsible for the implementation of the TE program and the distribution of funds.
http://www.enhancements.org/contacts_search.asp?type=TE

State FHWA TE Contacts: To discuss federal regulations and eligibility restrictions on the TE
program, contact the TE staff at the local division office of the Federal Highway Administration
(FHWA). They are responsible for ensuring that state DOTs comply with federal regulations related to
the TE program.
http://www.enhancements.org/contacts_search.asp?type=FHWA

FHWA Headquarters Contacts: To ask questions about federal regulations related to the TE program,
contact FHWA headquarters staff based in Washington, D.C. They are responsible for developing
regulations related to the TE program and overseeing the work of the FHWA division offices.
Christopher Douwes
Recreational Trails Program Manager
FHWA-National
400 7th Street SW HEPN-50 Room 3240
Washington, DC 20590
Tel: 202-366-5013 Fax: 202-366-3409
Email: christopher.douwes@dot.gov
Website: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/te/

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6. Background

On election day, Minnesotans approved a once in a lifetime investment in the arts. Passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is expected to create anywhere from $40 to $50 million annually to support the arts, arts access, arts education and history. The amendment also says these new resources should not be a substitute for traditional sources of funding. Unfortunately, the new money won’t be available for a while, perhaps not until late 2010 or 2011. (The new tiny increase in the state sales tax, created by the Amendment, doesn’t start until July, 2009, and then the funds raised by the tax will need to accumulate in the new Arts and Culture Fund before they can be spent).

The Amendment’s details will be sorted out in the Minnesota House Cultural and Outdoors Resources Finance Division, chaired by Rep. Mary Murphy, as well as Sen. David Tomassoni’s Economic Development and Housing Division in the Senate, this legislative session, which ends in May. The state has a huge deficit. Just like he has done before, the Governor has proposed cutting the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) and Regional Arts Councils by 50% over the next two years, and then eliminating the MSAB completely after that. This is contrary to the wishes of the voters who passed the amendment by 56% – a higher percentage vote than that received by President Obama in Minnesota. Minnesotans want MORE investments in the arts and culture, not less.

MCA had a huge role in the Vote Yes! campaign to pass the amendment. Our position is that the legislature should, as we have been discussing for several years, appropriate at least 50% of the new resources from the amendment to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils, so that it does indeed reach every MN county through their grants and services and is not diverted to some other, unknown purpose. We also oppose eliminating the Minnesota State Arts Board or turning it into a private, non-profit, as it will largely be spending public dollars and should remain in the highly accountable public system.

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Everything MCA does is made possible by our passionate and committed members. Join Today on MCA’s secure web site at: mncitizensforthearts.org/join/membership/individual-memberships/

PRIVACY: MCA values your privacy, and will not sell or distribute your personal information to anyone.
ABOUT: MCA is a nonpartisan 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 staff at mncitizensforthearts.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 www.arts.state.mn.us/racs/index.htm.