arts alert: Urgent Action Needed to Help the Arts in MN

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 4, 2009

Please Forward this Note to Your Arts Friends: Now is the Time

1. Urgent Action Needed!

2. Sign up Now for Arts Advocacy Day Feb. 24, 2009

3. Volunteers Needed

4. Background

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1. Urgent Action Needed!

You may have heard by now that Gov. Pawlenty has proposed cutting the arts by 50 percent, and eventual elimination of the State Arts Board after 2011, as part of a package of budget changes intended to balance the state’s budget. The Governor’s budget proposal flies in the face of the clear message sent by voters in the passage of the Amendment: that we want MORE investment in the arts and culture, not less. That is why it is important for you to do TWO THINGS to help the arts:

We’ve generated 550 letters so far. Help us deliver 1000 letters by Advocacy Day.

1. Send a letter to your legislator today saying you want them to protect the arts. You can do it in 5 minutes with our simple Arts Action Center. We give you talking points and set it up, all you have to do is enter your name and address and the letter will go automatically to the right elected officials.

2. Sign up and attend Arts Advocacy Day on Feb. 24. www.mncitizensforthearts.org. (See more info. below).

We were wrong about 2008 being the biggest year for arts advocacy in Minnesota history. This year is even tougher. The good news is that we know what we are doing and can change the outcome. We need everyone’s help to make sure that arts funding for the next two years isn’t slashed. We’ve shown by passage of the Amendment that by working together we can do great things. Sheila Smith, Executive Director

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2. Sign up Now for Arts Advocacy Day Feb. 24, 2009

Join us at the Capitol on Feb. 24 for another fun Arts Advocacy Day. Last year arts advocates got to watch history in the making as both the House and Senate pass the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment on to Minnesota voters. Who knows what amazing things will happen this year? Watch a video about Arts Advocacy Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZPqXDYM5zU

The day starts early at 8:00 a.m. at the Minnesota History Center with a First Timers Orientation, followed at 8:30 by the rally, general orientation and mass photo of attendees. By 9:30 we are sorting ourselves into teams by legislative district, and, led by an experienced Team Leader, march up to the Capitol for individual meetings with legislators. Previous participants have reported that the best things about Arts Advocacy Day is the chance to hang out with 400 artists and arts advocates who agree with them, and to feel like they have had a part in making the world a better place for the arts.

SIGN UP TODAY AT: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=LuTifG9UsbZ0R18HmcJAsA_3d_3d Sign up deadline is Feb. 20. You can also sign up on MCA’s website and get other information about the day at: www.mncitizensforthearts.org.

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3. Volunteers Needed!

Volunteer to Help with Advocacy Day

If you can help the week before Advocacy Day to stuff folders and prepare other materials in office, please feel free to join us February 16th to the 23rd in the MCA office from 9-5. We also need day of (February 24th) volunteers to great people as they come in, hand out schedules and usher people into the auditorium. If you are already coming to Advocacy Day this would be a great help and you will still be able to participate in all the days important and exciting events while helping us to make the day a success for all! Please call Shaylie to sign up for a shift at 651-251-0868 or email her at shaylie@mncitizensforthearts.org.

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4. Background

On election day, Minnesotans approved a once in a lifetime investment in the arts. Passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is expected to create anywhere from $40 to $50 million annually to support the arts, arts access, arts education and history. The amendment also says these new resources should not be a substitute for traditional sources of funding. Unfortunately, the new money won’t be available for a while, perhaps not until late 2010 or 2011. (The new tiny increase in the state sales tax, created by the Amendment, doesn’t start until July, 2009, and then the funds raised by the tax will need to accumulate in the new Arts and Culture Fund before they can be spent).

The Amendment’s details will be sorted out in the Minnesota House Cultural and Outdoors Resources Finance Division, chaired by Rep. Mary Murphy, as well as Sen. David Tomassoni’s Economic Development and Housing Division in the Senate, this legislative session, which ends in May. The state has a huge deficit. Just like he has done before, the Governor has proposed cutting the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) and Regional Arts Councils by 50% over the next two years, and then eliminating the MSAB completely after that. This is contrary to the wishes of the voters who passed the amendment by 56% – a higher percentage vote than that received by President Obama in Minnesota. Minnesotans want MORE investments in the arts and culture, not less.

MCA had a huge role in the Vote Yes! campaign to pass the amendment. Our position is that the legislature should, as we have been discussing for several years, appropriate at least 50% of the new resources from the amendment to the Minnesota State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils, so that it does indeed reach every MN county through their grants and services and is not diverted to some other, unknown purpose. We also oppose eliminating the Minnesota State Arts Board or turning it into a private, non-profit, as it will largely be spending public dollars and should remain in the highly accountable public system.

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Everything MCA does is made possible by our passionate and committed members. Join Today on MCA’s secure web site at: mncitizensforthearts.org/join/membership/individual-memberships/

PRIVACY: MCA values your privacy, and will not sell or distribute your personal information to anyone.
ABOUT: 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.