Arts Alert: How Will the Election Affect the Arts and Legacy Funding in Minnesota?

 Save the Date for Arts Advocacy Day: Feb. 28, 2017

 Internship Opening at MCA, See Below

1.  How Will the Election Affect the Arts and Legacy Funding in Minnesota?

The arts community will face many changes at the Minnesota Legislature when the new session begins in January. MCA has been hard at work analyzing the coming changes and sorting out what it will mean for the arts. As with any change, whether on the state or federal level, we will have to be vigilant to ensure that arts funding is protected. In Minnesota the arts are a non-partisan issue. MCA has a history of success at the legislature because we have made many friends of all parties.
The biggest changes for us are in the MN Senate, where the Democratic party lost control to the Republican party, which now has a single vote majority. The new controlling party will be putting its own people in charge of the Senate’s committees, and that includes the committees that decide arts funding.

This means we will lose our greatest advocate and friend, Senator Richard Cohen (D – Saint Paul), as Chair of both the Senate Finance Committee and Legacy Committee. He will probably remain a member of both bodies but not as Chair.


(Photo: Senator Richard Cohen speaks at Arts Advocacy Day. Photo credit: Scott Streble)

It has been announced that Senator Julie Rosen (R – Vernon Center) will take over the reins as Finance Chair. We think this is good news, as she has a history of supporting the arts. The Legacy Committee will be chaired by Senator Carrie Ruud (R- Breezy Point). The State Government Finance Committee, which oversees the General Funds for the arts (the funding that existed prior to the new Legacy funds), will be led by Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R- Big Lake).

The House is also undergoing musical chairs even though there has been no change in Republican control. Rep. Dean Urdahl (R-Grove City), a great friend of the arts and history, is moving over to Chair the Capital Investment Committee and will be replaced by Rep. Bob Gunther (R –Fairmont), who also has a history of supporting the arts. The General Fund dollars will be overseen by continuing State Government Finance Chair Rep. Sarah Anderson (R-Plymouth).
Newly elected legislators abound, many of whom are not aware of how arts funding in Minnesota benefits their constituents and their districts. There are 21 new Senators and 23 new Representatives, all of whom we need to reach out to.  The members of all of these committees have not yet been announced. When we know who the members are we’ll be able to start making plans of action to make sure they support the arts.


(Photo: A group of arts constituents meets with Rep. Dean Urdahl).

Because of continued divided government, with Democrat Mark Dayton in the Governor’s office, it’s expected to be a long and contentious session. Special session/s are not unlikely. The good news is that the state’s finances are good – but not great – so at least there is no deficit to increase the strife.

Together, we can make sure arts and Legacy funding is protected and secure. Watch this space for future updates!

What can you do to protect the arts?

  1. Join us for Arts Advocacy Day on Feb. 28 from 8 AM – 2 PM. You can find more info and sign up here.
  2. Watch for Arts Alerts over the next few months as legislation starts to move. We will let you know when and if there are problems and ask you to contact your legislators. We’ll make it easy for you with our online action center.
  3. Join or renew your membership in MCA now to make sure that we have the resources we need to fight for the arts! 

2. Internship Opening at MCA


(Photo: An Advocate team heads for the Capitol at Arts Advocacy Day. Photo Credit: Scott Streble)

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts (MCA), a nationally renowned arts advocacy organization that lobbies for state arts funding, seeks an intern to begin January 3rd.  The position is part-time and flexible (approximately 20 hours per week) and pays an hourly stipend.
MCA represents the arts community of Minnesota at the state legislature and lobbies for state funding of the arts, as well as other issues of concern to the non-profit arts community. MCA also does advocacy for the National Endowment for the Arts. To lobby effectively, MCA organizes grassroots advocacy around the state and keeps constituents educated and informed about the political process and the current state of arts funding throughout the year.
Interns will have exposure to and opportunities to interact with some of the movers and shakers in the arts community, as well as a working knowledge of the legislative process, arts funding structures in Minnesota and the basic functions of running a nonprofit. 
Duties and projects included in the internship:

  • Help organize Arts Advocacy Day on February 28th. This will include organizing individuals, arts organizations and campuses from across the state of Minnesota to attend Arts Advocacy Day 2017.
  • Execute MCA’s grassroots organizing plan, this will include constituent calls into districts, setting up legislator meetings and helping to facilitate constituent contacts to legislators.
  • Help develop MCA’s social media strategies on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and execute projects to increase organization’s presence on the web.
  • Work with staff on current projects including grassroots organizing, candidate meetings, voter education, board meeting preparation, filing and data entry.

A qualified applicant would possess the following skills:
-Understanding of the political process and grassroots organizing.
-Good communication skills, especially speaking with people on the phone.
-Interest in working with the arts community.
-Knowledge of social media sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
-A self-starting, positive, self-motivated personality and a sense of humor.
-Good organizational skills and the ability to perform many tasks simultaneously.
-Computer literacy; preferably experience with Macintosh, Microsoft Word & Excel.
-Independent and creative work habits.
Please mail or email resume and cover letter by December 26th, 2016 to:

Mark Albers
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
661 LaSalle Street #220
St. Paul, MN 55114