arts alert: Love the Arts on Arts Advocacy Day

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 13, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

Love the Arts at Arts Advocacy Day:

Arts Advocates Spend Valentines Day Asking Legislators to Pass the

Great Outdoors and Heritage Amendment

St. Paul: On Valentines Day more than six hundred arts advocates from around the state are expected to converge on the State Capitol for Minnesota Citizens for the Arts “Arts Advocacy Day” to ask legislators to pass a long-sought constitutional amendment that would dedicate funds to conservation and cultural heritage. While over 80 percent of the bill benefits the environment, 19.75 percent would also be dedicated to nonprofit arts and culture activity in Minnesota\\’s 87 counties.

Arts Advocates have been working to pass the amendment for over six years, and legislative leadership has assured both conservation and cultural advocates that the amendment will be passed early in the legislative session. Session started on February 12, so arts advocates decided they needed to be there two days later on Valentine\\’s Day. Advocates will be delivering chocolate kisses to their legislators along with a petition signed by over 100 arts, culture, civic and conservation organizations asking them to pass the bill quickly.

“Our message is that we love Minnesota, the environment and the arts, and that this amendment is the best way to help them all,” said Sheila Smith, MCA\\’s Executive Director.

Arts advocates will participate in a rally at 8:30 a.m. in the Minnesota History Center and then meet with their legislators in the Capitol from 10:00 to 1:00.

In a letter to conservation and cultural advocates from House Majority Leader Tony Sertich and Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, the bill\\’s chief authors in their respective houses, said “Considering the bipartisan support for this bill, and the wide margin of passage in both the House and Senate, it seems clear that the legislature supports putting this constitutional amendment to a vote of the people. Our natural resources, impaired water and cultural legacy deserve a long-term revenue source to address their growing needs. Passage of this constitutional amendment is vital to securing this revenue.”

Minnesotans have a strong tradition of interest in access to arts and culture, and participate in the arts to a higher degree than citizens of other states. Minnesota is home to over 1400 non-profit arts organizations that collectively serve 4.5 million people annually and provide an economic impact of over $1 billion to our state\\’s economy. Our state is home to over 20,000 artists, who are a contributing factor to the economies and communities of every region of Minnesota.

“This November, in addition to voting for President, Minnesotans will have a chance to vote for the things we love most about our state – our beautiful lakes and landscape and our arts and culture,” said Smith. “We urge that the legislature to vote ‘yes\\’ on the amendment immediately so that we can get down to the work of passing the amendment next November.”

In addition to their economic contributions to Minnesota\\’s economy, Minnesota artists are active and engaged in their communities, volunteering and voting at higher levels than the general public both in Minnesota and nationwide. Eighty one percent of Minnesota artists reported that they volunteer in their community at least once each month compared to relatively high 67 percent of the general Minnesota public and only 27 percent of all Americans. In terms of civic participation, 82 percent of artists report they “always” vote, 16 percent “sometimes” vote, and only 2 percent “never” vote. When compared to the very high voting rates of the general Minnesota public at 77 percent and all Americans at 58 percent, artists\\’ civic participation is exceptionally high. *

Artists are very engaged with their communities, volunteering and voting to a higher degree than the rest of the population. Our communities would be diminished without the many and varied contributions of our artists and arts and culture organizations. Just as we look for ways to ensure that our communities are hospitable places for businesses to locate and thrive, we must make certain that our artistic resources are nurtured as well.

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts is a 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 and conducts original research. MCA works with over 42,000 arts advocates in Minnesota. For more information on MCA, this project or statistics about the arts in Minnesota, please contact MCA Executive Director Sheila Smith at 651-251-0868 or view MCA\\’s website www.mncitizensforthearts.org .

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*Source: “Artists Count: An Economic Impact Study of Artists in Minnesota” 2007, available at www.mncitizensforthearts.org .

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Event Reminders from MCA:

Minnesota’s Arts Advocacy Day
February 14, 2008 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Minnesota History Center and Minnesota State Capitol
More information here: http://mncitizensforthearts.org/events/advocacyday/
Register On-line Now: www.mncitizensforthearts.org

National Arts Advocacy Day
March 31-April 1, 2008
Washington, D.C.
More information here: www.artsusa.org/events/2008/aad/default.asp

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• Take Action: www.mncitizensforthearts.org at our frequently updated, one-stop site for: information about Minnesota Citizens for the Arts and how you can get involved, an Action Center called the Arts Action Center 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!

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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