Arts Alert: Next Two Years of Arts Funding on the Line

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The Next Two Years of Arts Funding Are On the Line

The Legislative Session begins today in St. Paul, with all-new Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. One third of the legislature is new again this year, as it was just two years ago, so there are many, many new faces. The biggest issue is the state’s deficit of well over a billion dollars, and all of the new legislative leaders are saying that this is their #1 priority.

Our #1 priority is making sure that the legislature supports the arts. Arts funding goes from the legislature to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Council system, which ensures that grants and services reach every Minnesota county to support access to the arts from the best statewide arts community in the country.

Minnesota’s arts funding comes from two places, the General Fund and the Legacy Arts Fund:

  • The Governor has instructed all state agencies to submit a General Fund budget that reflects a 5% cut as part of a plan to deal with the deficit. The Governor will be unveiling his budget on Jan. 22, 2013. By the end of session the General Fund cut in the arts may be more or less than 5%, this is just a starting point, and of course we will work to make it as small as possible. Currently the arts receive just over $8.6M/year from this source.
  • There are probably additional dollars available in the Legacy Arts Fund due to the recovery of the economy, but we don’t know exactly how much that might be yet. We are working to get specific information so we can craft a proposal to increase funding to the MSAB and RACs from this source. Currently the arts receive just about $21.7M/year from the Arts Legacy fund.

Who Are On the Arts Committees?

The House has appointed all of its committees, and below are the members. (Note that several people are on both committees in the House). The Senate is a bit behind the House in that they haven’t yet appointed a Legacy committee, although the State Government Finance Committee has been named. These legislators will be very important to the arts.

House Legacy Committee:
Chair, Phillis Kahn, Leon Lillie, Dean Urdahl, Mike Freiberg, Steve Green, Alice Hausman, Joe McDonald, Mary Murphy, Joyce Peppin, Paul Torkelson, Jean Wagenius, John Ward

NOTE: The first hearing of this committee will be on Jan. 15, it will be an overview hearing and will not be about the arts.

House State Government Finance Committee: (General Fund)
Chair, Mary Murphy, Jerry Newton, Bob Dettmer, Mike Benson, Connie Bernardy, Raymond Dehn, Mike Freiberg, Jeff Howe, Phyllis Kahn, Ron Kresha, Ernie Leidiger, Michael Nelson, Tim O’Driscoll, John Persell, Mary Sawatzky, Steve Simon, Anna Wills, ex-officio Lyndon Carlson

Senate State Departments and Veterans Division:
Chair: Saxhaug Vice Chair: Dziedzic, Senators Anderson, Cohen, Metzen, Chamberlain, Dahms, Rest, Champion, Gazelka, Stumpf


Arts Advocacy Day will be March 7, 2013. Arts Advocacy Day is the day we come together and ask legislators to support the arts. With the next two years of arts funding on the line, Arts Advocacy Day will be more important than ever. Save the date, with more info to come!

Minnesota Citizens for the Arts
2233 University Ave. W. #355, St. Paul, MN 55155 | 651-251-0868 | fax 651-917-3561
staff at | | @MnCitizen

MCA is a nonpartisan statewide arts advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure Minnesotans have access to and involvement in the arts. MCA organizes the arts community to lobby the Legislature and Congress on issues important to the nonprofit arts community. If you are interested in advocating for the arts, or want to learn how to activate people in your arts organization or community, please contact us. MCA values your privacy, and will not sell or distribute your name and info to anyone for any reason. FYI, MCA is not a grantsmaker. For access to state funding, contact the Minnesota State Arts Board or your local Regional Arts Council