1. MINNESOTA CONFERENCE TO FOCUS ON ARTS: ALL INVITED Challenging times call for creative responses! In this spirit, the Minnesota Council on Foundations and the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits invite you to join with your nonprofit colleagues at the first truly joint conference of the two organizations. The conference, “What’s Next for the State We’re In,” will be held October 1-2, 2003 at RiverCentre in St. Paul, and will be an opportunity for our joint memberships and the broader nonprofit and philanthropic community to engage in learning and discussions about the ways we can assess and address the issues facing us. At this conference, you will gain insight and information that will allow your organization to effectively respond to changes, and you will have the opportunity to engage in productive conversations with other arts organization executives and staff. The focus of this conference is on exploring the environment for all organizations in the sector and the potential for positive, productive ways to support Minnesotans and maintain the quality of life in our state.

As a special incentive to arts organizations, non-members may register at the MCN/MCF member fee if you indicate you are an arts organization on your registration form. In addition, a limited number of $40 scholarships have been provided by the Jerome Foundation and the McKnight Foundation are also available to enable your participation. Although the deadline has passed for the $40 scholarships, non MCN members may still register at the member rate. Conference registration deadline is September 25th.

The special sessions for arts and culture include: A half-day participatory session on Wednesday, October 1 with Jerry Yoshitomi, the former founding director of the Japanese-American Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Jerry will present “Looking for Silver Bullets: Building Greater Commitment to the Value of the Arts”. The session includes small group strategy discussions facilitated by Karen Mueller, Senior Program Officer for the Minnesota State Arts Board; Carlo Cuesta, co-founder and managing partner for Creation in Common; and Julie Dalgleish, Dalgleish and Associates and Director of the Bush Artists Fellowship Program. On Thursday, October 2, there will be a two-part issues discussion on Arts and Culture. In Part One, participants will work in small groups to discuss two key questions on the state of the arts in Minnesota. Part Two will focus on “What’s Next?” for Minnesota arts and culture organizations, and participants will focus on strategies to build, support and strengthen the arts and culture nonprofit sector.

For CEOs, executive directors, foundation trustees and nonprofit board members from MCF and MCN member organizations, there is an additional opportunity for networking and a special presentation about nonprofit and foundation governance and leadership from former Governor Elmer Andersen on Wednesday evening from 6:45 – 8:45 p.m. at a dinner at the Saint Paul Hotel. A separate registration fee of $60 is required.

To register, go online at www.mcf.org/conference. If you have questions about the conference or the dinner, please contact Melissa Eystad, MCF director of member services, at 612/335-3418 or meystad@mcf.org. ———————————————————

2. REP. BETTY MCCOLLUM (D- St. Paul) GETS ARTS FRIENDLY FEDERAL BILL PASSED On Tuesday, September 16, the House approved by voice vote a reauthorization bill for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The Senate had already approved an identical version. Thus, a House-Senate conference will be unnecessary, and the bill goes straight to the President for his signature. The bill also included upward revisions in the liability limits for the federal art indemnity program, which helps to insure museum exhibitions that include works from foreign lenders. Substantial increases in insurance costs after September 11 made these revisions especially timely.

The indemnity bill was sponsored by our own Rep. Betty McCollum of St. Paul.

Rep.McCollum said, “after being appointed to the National Council on the Arts and visiting several museums in Minnesota, including the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, I became actively involved in this legislation. The Arts and Artifacts Indemnity Act provides an opportunity to maintain an international exchange of the arts that is so important to our community.” To thank her, fill out the web contact form on Rep. McCollum’s website.


This past week, the Senate began floor debate on the FY 2004 Interior Appropriations bill. Debate was interrupted due to Hurricane Isabel, but it resumed today and will likely finish tomorrow. We do not anticipate that there will be a floor or manager’s amendment to increase NEA funding, since the amendment to increase museum funding failed earlier this month on the Senate floor. The NEA’s ultimate funding level for FY 2004 will be resolved by a conference with the House, which has approved a $10 million increase. It’s not too late to contact your senators regarding an increase in funding for the NEA. For most of September, Congress will try to finish work on all annual appropriations bills, including the Interior Appropriations bill that funds the NEA. Currently the House-approved level is $127.5 million, but the Senate Committee-recommended level is only $117.5 million. Visit our Online Advocacy Center page to send an electronic message to your senators on this issue.

In other arts-related funding news, the Senate has approved $35.3 million for the Arts in Education programs at the U.S. Department of Education. That provision now goes to conference with the House, which has initially approved zero funding for these programs, but may well accept the Senate’s funding level as in previous years. Also within this same education funding bill, the Senate approved level funding of $28.5 million for the Office of Museum Services within IMLS. Visit the Americans for the Arts website for more information.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7, its package of incentives for charitable giving, on Wednesday, September 17, by a vote of 408 to 13. The package included two of the three provisions supported by Americans for the Arts. Unfortunately, it did not include the tax provision allowing artists to take a fair market value deduction for giving their own work to nonprofits such as museums, libraries, and other organizations that use art to advance their mission. The good news: it includes the IRA rollover provision (which would allow people to roll over portions of their IRAs to charities without it being taxed) and the charitable giving deduction for taxpayers who do not itemize. Both of these bills would promote giving to non-profits. The bill now goes to a House-Senate conference committee. Americans for the Arts is working to persuade the committee to accept the Senate version with respect to the artist deduction. Americans for the Arts urges advocates to ask their House members to cosponsor H.R. 806, a stand-alone version of this artist deduction provision. If H.R. 806 attracts a large number of cosponsors, it may convince the House leadership to accede to the Senate version of the charitable giving package, which does include the deduction for artists as well as the two other House-approved provisions. Ask your representative to help.

On Thursday, September 4, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to restore full mandatory funding for enhancements to transportation projects by a vote of 327 to 90. The enhancement funds that were at risk, amounting to more than $600 million annually, will remain available for use to support transportation-related public art projects as well as to mitigate the less attractive aspects of transportation projects by building hiking and biking trails, rehabilitating historic structures associated with transportation, and creating parks and public performance space, among other things.
Click here for more information and to see how your House member voted on this amendment.

Finally, the Senate Commerce-Justice-State appropriations subcommittee took two steps of interest. First, it increased the total budget for the State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which runs the international cultural exchange programs. It is within the discretion of State to use some of the increase for cultural exchange. Second, it zeroed out funding that the administration had requested to cover the cost of re-entering UNESCO. The House bill, conversely, contains full UNESCO funding but no increase for the Bureau Educational and Cultural Affairs. These issues also will have to be resolved in conference. If you have any questions, please contact Andy Finch at 202-371-2830, x159, or afinch@artsusa.org. More information about these issues, and links to Minnesota’s congresspeople can be found here.