arts alert: Governor Vetoes Arts Projects/Top Ten Ways to Support Campaign

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

April 11, 2008

1. Top Ten Things Arts Organizations Can Do to Support Vote Yes MN

2. Governor Vetoes Arts Projects

3. Cut to Arts Proposed

4. Interns and Volunteers Wanted

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1. Top Ten Things Arts Organizations Can Do to Support Vote Yes MN

For the past six years arts advocates have worked to get the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on the ballot. I have to say I am very pleased at how quickly and how well the conservation and cultural communities have gotten together to build a successful campaign to pass the amendment this November. One of the interesting things about the effort is that 80+ percent of the initiative is about clean water and land conservation, so this fall as we go into the election no doubt most of the public discussion about the amendment will be about those issues. That makes it very important that those of us who also support the arts and culture are communicating to our friends, boards and audiences about the benefits to the arts. Largely, our message is that the arts frequently are cut when there is a deficit, so dedicated funding is important. The Legacy Amendment has the potential to triple arts funding. We need to make sure that our people know! For this reason, we’ve created the…

Top 10 Things your organization can do for Vote Yes Minnesota:
• Endorse The Campaign (We have well over 200 organizations signed on so far with more coming every day).
• Sign the list User Agreement with the campaign so the campaign can save you money by contacting the people on your volunteer and membership lists directly (We are combining everyone’s lists so that we don’t send the same pieces of mail ten times to the same people).
• Encourage your membership/patrons/boards and volunteers to support and volunteer for the campaign
• Provide a list of your organizations events where the campaign can have a presence
• Contribute money to the campaign
• Include messages about and supporting the effort in all of your external and internal communications – email, snail mail, programs, logo on your website and link to www.YesforMN.org
• Place literature in a visible place in your lobby, office or studio
• Post a sign on your building or window supporting the campaign.
• Join the speaker Bureau or invite one of our Speakers to your board or memberships meetings
• Donate staff time for visibility events, collecting signatures, and/or phone calling.

The other piece of good news for the campaign is that we have hired Donna Bachman as lead arts organizer. She will be working with MCA’s board and staff and the arts community at large to get the word out about the amendment and to help arts supporters and arts audiences become engaged. Donna began her career in arts management at The Children’s Theatre Company, where she served as stage manager, production stage manager and production manager for thirteen years. Her work there included one national tour and two international tours to Moscow and Tokyo. For nine years Donna was the managing director for Minnesota Dance Theatre in addition to working independently on projects for Chan Poling, VocalEssence, General Mills Inc., the Illusion Theatre to name a few. So, she knows the arts community!

For more information, contact Donna at dbachman@yesformn.org the Vote Yes Minnesota campaign, 2334 University Ave. #150, St. Paul, MN 55114, 651-644-2088. The campaign website, www.YesforMN.org will be up soon.

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2. Governor Vetoes Arts Projects

While MCA does not lobby for individual arts bonding projects, we do try to provide assistance to all of the organizations that are going through the process. Therefore, we were very disappointed in the Governors line-item vetoes of all of the arts projects that had passed the legislature. Here is a list of the projects vetoed by the Governor. We are very disappointed in this action:
• $3M to Minneapolis Orchestra Hall planning
• $975,000 Mankato Civic Center/Arena Expansion
• $5M St Paul Asian Pacific Cultural Center
• $400,000 Chatfield Band Music Lending Library

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3. Cut to Arts Proposed

The good news is that the legislative session is only about a month from the end, and we arranged to avoid any cuts to arts funding from the Governor or from the House. Unfortunately, the Senate did recommend a cut of $175,000 from the fiscal year 2009 appropriation. (If passed it would affect grants next year). That would be a cut of 1.71% of the $10,227,000 appropriation for next year only. They reduced the funding of a number of small agencies in order to balance their budget. The conference committee will be making their decisions within the next week or so, and we are working with the conference committee to make sure that no cut goes over $175,000, and if we can we will reduce or eliminate the cut altogether. The proposed cuts and vetoes do point out why it is so important to pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment to protect arts funding.

MCA has also been involved in a number of issues with potential statewide significance. The city of Mankato has proposed using an entertainment tax to fund renovations on some city projects. We’ve worked with local arts folks and area legislators to make sure that the tax exempts nonprofit events as the statewide law does. A second, larger issue of property tax exemptions for nonprofits has been resolved for now with the leadership of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. The Department of Revenue has agreed to take a hiatus in changing the way they assess property taxes on nonprofits so that we can use the summer to sort out a fair approach. Another issue that has taken quite a bit of effort is the theater performance exception in the statewide smoking ban. We continue to work on that issue as well, and at this point we have been successful in avoiding any legislation on the issue and continue to monitor the issue closely.

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4. Interns and Volunteers Wanted

The campaign to pass the amendment has already begun and you can be a part of it! There are many volunteer opportunities as we organize on a statewide basis to spread the word about how important it is that Minnesota vote “yes.” We urge you to sign up with the Vote Yes Minnesota campaign.

The YES For MN campaign also seeks interns to begin April/May 2008. Internships are part-time and flexible (approximately 20 hours per week).

For more information, contact Donna at dbachman@yesformn.org the Vote Yes Minnesota campaign, 2334 University Ave. #150, St. Paul, MN 55114, 651-644-2088.

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Things You Need To Know: MCA values your privacy, and will not sell or distribute your personal information to anyone. 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.

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