arts alert: More Amendment Amazement and What Happens Next

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

November 12, 2008

1. More Amendment Amazement

2. What Happens Next

3. Sally Awards Deadline Extended

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1. More Amendment Amazement

Well, now that we’ve had a few days to reflect upon Election Day I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned:

  • The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment was the largest conservation initiative in American history.
  • The Amendment was the largest arts and culture ballot initiative in American history.
  • It is estimated that the Amendment will generate $2.2 billion for the arts, arts education, and arts access and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage over the next 25 years.
  • Children who have not even been born yet will benefit from increased access to the arts and culture and to a cleaner, healthier environment because of the passage of the Amendment.
  • Dedicated funding for the arts is now in the Minnesota constitution. No other state constitution includes dedicated funding for the arts.
  • With 56% of the vote, the Amendment received the highest percentage of all candidates and initiatives in Minnesota on the statewide ballot on election day. We even got more votes than President-Elect Obama in Minnesota.
  • With 1,635,040 votes, the Amendment received more votes from Minnesotans than any other candidate or issue in Minnesota history, including all of the candidates on the ballot this year and in all previous years.
  • We won in every congressional district.
  • The best area for the Amendment was the 5th Congressional District (Minneapolis), where 73% of the voters who voted on the Amendment checked “Yes.” Even if all non-voters are counted as “No” votes in the 5th, we still got over 68% approval.
  • Although we won in the 8th Congressional District (Duluth, Arrowhead and the Range), we won it with only 50.4% of the vote.
  • We won in 57 of 87 Minnesota counties. Our best county was Blue Earth (Mankato). Our worst county was Kittson (Hallock) with only 35% of “Yes” votes. In addition to Blue Earth, the other two counties that over performed in terms of projected “Yes” votes were Rock (Luverne) and Clay (Moorhead) counties.

Thanks are still in order. There are literally a thousand heroes who contributed time and resources to this effort. I know that many of you who receive this newsletter worked very hard to pass the Amendment. Thank you! If I started to list names this would become a very long email indeed, so I would like to particularly thank the members of the board of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, and the members of the Steering Committee of the Vote Yes! Campaign who forged an efficient, effective and collaborative effort, the arts organizations who devoted staff time and resources to supporting the campaign, and thank the staff of Vote Yes! who all deserve to take a vacation now, particularly Ken Martin, our Campaign Manager, to whom MCA awarded and “Arts All Star Award” at Monday night’s Annual Meeting.

So, again, thank you.

Sheila Smith
Executive Director
Minnesota Citizens for the Arts

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2. What Happens Next

While we are all understandably thrilled at the passage of the Amendment, the new resources will not be available for some time. First, the tax that will bring resources to the Arts and Culture Fund will not be imposed until July of 2009. Then money will need to accumulate in the fund for a while, potentially at least one year and possibly two, before the legislature appropriates it to the community. So the earliest we will see these resources will potentially be some time in 2010, potentially two years in the future.

The Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils are currently conducting a strategic planning process. The plan is scheduled to be completed in July of 2009.

The most important thing to know is that because of the delay in the availability of these resources, we will have to go to the Legislature in January to protect the current appropriation for the next two years. This will be an extremely tough fight because the state is projected to have a $4 billion plus deficit, which means there is a great danger that current resources will be under threat.

Not only that, we must be vigilant next session as the Legislature puts into law how the resources to the Arts and Culture Fund will be appropriated in the future. We have fought the long campaign for the Amendment with the understanding that 50% of the new money would go to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils who reach every Minnesota county, and thus every Minnesotan, through their grants and services.

It’s up to the Legislature to determine how these resources will be allocated to the arts, arts education, and history. Our job is to make sure they do what they said they were going to do, which is to put 50% of the funds into the current efficient and accountable system of MSAB and RACs, rather than diverting them to some other, unknown, purpose. We will need to work just as hard this session to make this a reality as we did on the Vote Yes! Campaign.

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3. Sally Awards Deadline Extended

For the past 16 years, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has recognized organizations and individuals from across the state that make Minnesota’s arts community incredibly strong and vibrant. They are now accepting nominations for the 2008 Sally Ordway Irvine Awards.

There are four award categories:
• VISION
• INITIATIVE
• COMMITMENT
• EDUCATION

Please help them identify well qualified candidates. Any arts organization or individual in the state of Minnesota is eligible, as long as they have not already been a recipient. The nomination form also is available on their website (www.ordway.org) for easy online submission. THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2008. If you have any questions regarding the nomination form or the awards, please contact Meghan Ruecker at 651-282-3006.